Photographer Accused of Shooting Wolf in Captivity

12.23.09 Will Sherman


A Spanish artist has been accused of faking this extremely awesome photo of a wolf, not with any Photoshop phoniness, but with a zoo animal. José Luis Rodríguez won a $16k prize from the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for his shot of a supposedly wild wolf jumping a gate, but is said to have broken the rules by using a tame animal, one named Ossian living at the Madrid Zoo, according to The Guardian.

Animal experts say its staged since a wild wolf would more likely squeeze through the gate. However, Rodriguez, who claims he’s the victim of an anonymous internet attack, credits an elaborate set up for the “Storybrook Wolf” shot:

His idea was a picture that would symbolize the ancient conflict between humans and wolves, while showing the beauty and strength of this fabled animal. But it took a long time to find the ideal location, let alone a wolf that would jump a gate. His chance came when he found a landowner who was happy to have both the wolves and José Luis on his property, and also had the ideal setting: a copse and an ancient, disused cattle corral.

José Luis started by placing meat in the corral. Once he knew a male wolf was visiting regularly, jumping the gate, he began to introduce the bits of equipment needed to set up a camera trap. At first, the wolf didn’t like the flash triggered by the trip beam, but after a few weeks he took no notice of the light or the clicks of the hidden digital camera. Now that the wolf was happy and the camera positioning was right, it was time to take the final picture with a medium-format camera. When the first transparencies arrived back from the lab, José Luis was overjoyed to find he finally had the picture he had dreamt of.

“Storybook Wolf” photo by José Luis Rodriguez