When I saw this photo of a wild wolf up close and captured with flash, I remember being stunned. It was such a gorgeous photo, and so impossibly framed. The photographer had apparently set up a flash system and camera that would be triggered by any animal jumping the gate – and he knew it was on a route often used by wild wolves. It was said that he had planned this single photograph for many years.
So, imagine my disappointment reading today that the entire photo was staged. It doesn’t detract from the beauty of the photo, but it does mean that the photo was really as easy to take as getting my pet dog to leap over a gate in the darkness while I take a snap.
This photo won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award and Jose Luis Rodriguez was much feted as a patient master. Now it appears he was little more than a dog trainer operating at night.
The photo has not changed, but our impression of how it was created has. So are these prizes awarding the aesthetic quality of the photography, or the difficulty involved in getting a picture. It would seem far more of the latter.