In 2010, José Luis Rodriguez won the prestigious British Natural History Museum's wildlife photography award, placing first among 43,000 entrants. He shot the most beautiful photo of a wolf I have ever seen. Wolves had recently been re-introduced to Northern Spain, where José lived, and he set up a Hasselblad camera with a sensing device and flashes to capture it.
After the award was granted, some wildlife biologists got suspicious, saying this wolf was a rare species and wolves don't normally jump over gates. It bore resemblance to a trained wolf that lived in Northern Spain. They rescinded his award.
I didn't know how to judge authenticity, but I wanted to make a 72-inch print for our walls at SmugMug. I kept writing José for 2 years. Finally he gave in and let me purchase the rights. Every time I walk by the print, I get a great sense of awe.
But now The Guardian has published a story about how photographers work the system. For cheating the contest, it sounds despicable. For making glorious images of animals, it sometimes sounds amazing. What do you think?