Prestigious BBC nature photo contest controversy

Started Dec 18, 2009 | Discussions
Justme Forum Pro • Posts: 22,206
Prestigious BBC nature photo contest controversy

There have been allegations of cheating in the BBC Nature photo competition, one of the most prestigious of its kind in the world. It has to do with the winning photo. Investigation is still underway. Not sure if anything will come of it. You can read for yourself. The page is in Finnish so I ran it through google translate.

http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.suomenluonto.fi%2Fbbc-luontokuvakisassa-epaillaan-huijausta&sl=fi&tl=en

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MusicmanUK Contributing Member • Posts: 649
English version
Charlie Self Veteran Member • Posts: 3,924
Re: English version

MusicmanUK wrote:

There's an English version of the story on the Finnish site itself

http://www.suomenluonto.fi/bbcs-nature-photo-competition-judge-admits-winner-photo-investigated-due-to-fraud-allegations

Maybe a tempest that shouldn't have escaped the teapot? On looking at the so-called evidence, I see a different wolf, with the tame one having more gray on the muzzle as well as a battered ear. As for suspicions raised because the wolf didn't "sneak" between the gate bars, I took another look at the size of the animal and the size of spaces between the bars. If that wolf is in pursuit of something on the order of a U.S. whitetail deer, it isn't going to slam on the brakes to slow down enough to "sneak" through anything. It would follow the deer over the fence while maintaining or increasing speed.

I could be wrong, but it strikes me that the evidence is beyond shaky.

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Smudger79 Contributing Member • Posts: 933
Re: English version

I hope you are right. This is an incredible shot and it would be very disappointing if the animal is found to be non-wild.

Charlie Self wrote:

MusicmanUK wrote:

There's an English version of the story on the Finnish site itself

http://www.suomenluonto.fi/bbcs-nature-photo-competition-judge-admits-winner-photo-investigated-due-to-fraud-allegations

Maybe a tempest that shouldn't have escaped the teapot? On looking at the so-called evidence, I see a different wolf, with the tame one having more gray on the muzzle as well as a battered ear. As for suspicions raised because the wolf didn't "sneak" between the gate bars, I took another look at the size of the animal and the size of spaces between the bars. If that wolf is in pursuit of something on the order of a U.S. whitetail deer, it isn't going to slam on the brakes to slow down enough to "sneak" through anything. It would follow the deer over the fence while maintaining or increasing speed.

I could be wrong, but it strikes me that the evidence is beyond shaky.

OP Justme Forum Pro • Posts: 22,206
Re: English version

The investigation is still ongoing. It's not only the wolf but the location/setting. They must have used Levels in PS to lighten the winning photo to show more the background and surrounding habitat. Some people are seeing good similarities in the two photos.

Smudger79 wrote:

I hope you are right. This is an incredible shot and it would be very disappointing if the animal is found to be non-wild.

Charlie Self wrote:

MusicmanUK wrote:

There's an English version of the story on the Finnish site itself

http://www.suomenluonto.fi/bbcs-nature-photo-competition-judge-admits-winner-photo-investigated-due-to-fraud-allegations

Maybe a tempest that shouldn't have escaped the teapot? On looking at the so-called evidence, I see a different wolf, with the tame one having more gray on the muzzle as well as a battered ear. As for suspicions raised because the wolf didn't "sneak" between the gate bars, I took another look at the size of the animal and the size of spaces between the bars. If that wolf is in pursuit of something on the order of a U.S. whitetail deer, it isn't going to slam on the brakes to slow down enough to "sneak" through anything. It would follow the deer over the fence while maintaining or increasing speed.

I could be wrong, but it strikes me that the evidence is beyond shaky.

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Rifleman1776 Regular Member • Posts: 161
Re: Prestigious BBC nature photo contest controversy

My take is that this is an impossible rule to enforce.
The more regulations that are written, the more complex defining becomes.
The judges of the competition have dug themselves a hole.

Right or wrong, captive or wild, the photograph should speak for itself. Nothing else counts. That's my opinion.

arizonadesertrat
arizonadesertrat Senior Member • Posts: 1,333
Re: English version

I wonder how the photographer came to be standing next to this gate with his camera ready, prefocused, able to compose this shot just as the wolf was jumping over the fence chasing whatever he was chasing.
I dunno, I hope they find concrete evidence one way or the other.
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Caat Senior Member • Posts: 2,229
Re: English version

It was remote triggered.

arizonadesertrat wrote:

I wonder how the photographer came to be standing next to this gate with his camera ready, prefocused, able to compose this shot just as the wolf was jumping over the fence chasing whatever he was chasing.
I dunno, I hope they find concrete evidence one way or the other.
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Caat Senior Member • Posts: 2,229
Re: English version

I agree. Its clearly a totally different wolf.

Charlie Self wrote:

MusicmanUK wrote:

There's an English version of the story on the Finnish site itself

http://www.suomenluonto.fi/bbcs-nature-photo-competition-judge-admits-winner-photo-investigated-due-to-fraud-allegations

Maybe a tempest that shouldn't have escaped the teapot? On looking at the so-called evidence, I see a different wolf, with the tame one having more gray on the muzzle as well as a battered ear. As for suspicions raised because the wolf didn't "sneak" between the gate bars, I took another look at the size of the animal and the size of spaces between the bars. If that wolf is in pursuit of something on the order of a U.S. whitetail deer, it isn't going to slam on the brakes to slow down enough to "sneak" through anything. It would follow the deer over the fence while maintaining or increasing speed.

I could be wrong, but it strikes me that the evidence is beyond shaky.

Smudger79 Contributing Member • Posts: 933
Re: Prestigious BBC nature photo contest controversy

I also think that photographs should speak for themselves, however, the rules of the competition stated that captive animals should be clearly distinguished, as the organisers were going to show a preference for wild animal shots.

If it is deemed to be the same wolf and captive, it means that the entrant didn't disclose the fact it was a captive animal and therefore could be seen as cheating.

This is one of the best shots I've ever seen though, IMO, and I do hope it is legitimate and has not been entered under a false pretense.

Rifleman1776 wrote:

My take is that this is an impossible rule to enforce.
The more regulations that are written, the more complex defining becomes.
The judges of the competition have dug themselves a hole.

Right or wrong, captive or wild, the photograph should speak for itself. Nothing else counts. That's my opinion.

arizonadesertrat
arizonadesertrat Senior Member • Posts: 1,333
Re: English version

Ah. Well, that answered that. Thanks. So somewhere there ought to be a picture of whatever the wolf was chasing to clear this whole thing up.

Caat wrote:
It was remote triggered.

arizonadesertrat wrote:

I wonder how the photographer came to be standing next to this gate with his camera ready, prefocused, able to compose this shot just as the wolf was jumping over the fence chasing whatever he was chasing.
I dunno, I hope they find concrete evidence one way or the other.
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Caat Senior Member • Posts: 2,229
Explanation of how the shot was taken

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/wpy/photo.do?photo=2554&category=56&group=4

For those interested.

I follow this competition quite closely and have entered the last three years. Its generally of an excellent standard, although every year there are a handful that make you think "excuse me? how did that get selected?". This isn't one of those.

Edit: although personally I think the use of camera traps is a bit iffy. Nevertheless a stunning shot in it's own right. The competition, I think anyway, allows a little too much freedom in the rules - one year a ferret had been bribed with toast, another a shot of a swallow was taken through a window frame which had been placed by the photographer in the swallows regular flight path, and another year a photo of a heron feeding was shot from under the water but in face said water was a fish tank on stlits, sure the heron was wild but.....

shay guevara Senior Member • Posts: 1,397
Re: Explanation of how the shot was taken

Caat wrote:

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/wpy/photo.do?photo=2554&category=56&group=4

For those interested.

I follow this competition quite closely and have entered the last three years. Its generally of an excellent standard, although every year there are a handful that make you think "excuse me? how did that get selected?". This isn't one of those.

Edit: although personally I think the use of camera traps is a bit iffy. Nevertheless a stunning shot in it's own right. The competition, I think anyway, allows a little too much freedom in the rules - one year a ferret had been bribed with toast, another a shot of a swallow was taken through a window frame which had been placed by the photographer in the swallows regular flight path, and another year a photo of a heron feeding was shot from under the water but in face said water was a fish tank on stlits, sure the heron was wild but.....

Bribing a ferret with toast.............how low can people go

Shay

Caat Senior Member • Posts: 2,229
Re: Explanation of how the shot was taken

shay guevara wrote:

Caat wrote:

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/wpy/photo.do?photo=2554&category=56&group=4

For those interested.

I follow this competition quite closely and have entered the last three years. Its generally of an excellent standard, although every year there are a handful that make you think "excuse me? how did that get selected?". This isn't one of those.

Edit: although personally I think the use of camera traps is a bit iffy. Nevertheless a stunning shot in it's own right. The competition, I think anyway, allows a little too much freedom in the rules - one year a ferret had been bribed with toast, another a shot of a swallow was taken through a window frame which had been placed by the photographer in the swallows regular flight path, and another year a photo of a heron feeding was shot from under the water but in face said water was a fish tank on stlits, sure the heron was wild but.....

Bribing a ferret with toast.............how low can people go

Shay

ha! Indeed!

It was a good shot though.

edit: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/wpy/prevPhoto.do?photo=2321&year=2007&category=9

Smudger79 Contributing Member • Posts: 933
Re: Explanation of how the shot was taken

I once saw a man blackmailling a weasel!!

shay guevara wrote:

Bribing a ferret with toast.............how low can people go

Shay

Tar Palantir Junior Member • Posts: 38
Stonework in gateway in Madrid looks different

The stonework surrounding the wall gap in the park in Madrid (assuming the wooden gate had been removed after competition photo was taken) looks completely different, to me. I can't find a single individual stone that seems to correspond in the two photos, although the curved tree trunk looks similar.

I could take ten photos of broken-down gaps in stone walls in partly wooded areas within five miles of where I live (in Ireland).

If the competition winner could go back and take a verifiable photo of, or bring an independent witness to, the original gateway where the photo was taken - then it would be egg on the face of whoever is ammassing this evidence.

JulesJ
JulesJ Forum Pro • Posts: 45,672
Re: Explanation of how the shot was taken

It's ok, it had caviar with lemon juice on it.
Jules

shay guevara wrote:

Bribing a ferret with toast.............how low can people go

Shay

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When you lose a number of things, why is it always the last one that is most difficult to find?

godfrog Senior Member • Posts: 1,463
Re: Prestigious BBC nature photo contest controversy

The so called "evidence" is a joke.

The second wolf, Ossian, is vaguely similar because its of the same species.

The place in Madrid is vaguely similar because it has rocks and trees. Note the comment, "the skyline is very similar". Cmon...

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Mike_PEAT Forum Pro • Posts: 13,344
Nature story should take precedence in nature competitons

Rifleman1776 wrote:

My take is that this is an impossible rule to enforce.
The more regulations that are written, the more complex defining becomes.
The judges of the competition have dug themselves a hole.

Right or wrong, captive or wild, the photograph should speak for itself. Nothing else counts. That's my opinion.

As a trained photography judge who has participated in nature competitions, it's the nature story that should take precedence and not it's pictorial quality. The competitions I'm involved with have rules that are governed by the PSA (Photographic Society of America) and FIAP (Fédération Internationale de l'Art Photographique).

Based on the article in the OP, it seems their entry form requires you to specify if it ISN'T genuine wildlife...to me this is backwards because if you forget which may have been the situation in this case, you get into trouble. Our own forms are the opposite of that in which we have a checkbox where you can specify if it is genuine wildlife...of course in that case it would definitely be cheating if you check the genuine wildlife box.

The competition itself is at fault here (if they do require the entrant to specify if it's not genuine wildlife). Having been involved in a yearly international salon we've had a lot of language issues with entrants not understanding the entry form and the rules. When running an international competition you have to make things as simple as possible.

shay guevara Senior Member • Posts: 1,397
Re: Explanation of how the shot was taken

Smudger79 wrote:
I once saw a man blackmailling a weasel!!

shay guevara wrote:

Bribing a ferret with toast.............how low can people go

Ok. I'll bite. How do you blackmail a weasel ?
Shay

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