Wildlife fauxtography: Nature as it isn't

Ted Williams writes about how photography of game farm animals has become commonpace.

Wildlife fauxtography: Nature as it isn’t
Ted Williams – in the Salt Lake tribune





  1. grdnrmt Avatar

    Thanks for posting this!

  2. cc Avatar

    A more lenghty article by Williams on the same topic appeared recently in Aububon magazine:


  3. mikepost Avatar

    Ethical commercial photography and publishing should require the disclosure of non-natural photos. This has been going on since Disney’s nature flicks in the 50’s.

  4. Mike Avatar

    Great article.

  5. Si'vet Avatar

    Really good article Ken, I don’t think it’s limited to profit organizations, I think the photo shop chop goes very deep into bothsides of the nonprofits as well. PS after your April 1 spoof I find myself a little gun shy with your posts, your my wife’s hero and she still jibes me over it.

  6. Si'vet Avatar

    For Sale – Brand new still in the wrap, Marty Stauffer DVD collectors edition – CHEAP

  7. Si'vet Avatar

    Also for sale cheap – Mark Mcguire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, rookie cards.
    OK I’m done, point is, wildlife chop shop, high fence, and the accomplishments of the above should all come under the same heading in the dictionary, FAUX.

  8. grdnrmt Avatar

    cc – Thanks for the link.

  9. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    Troy gentry is a real man, killing a tame bear in a fenced enclosure, then edited it to simulate killing it in a fair chase. Remind me again why this practice isn’t banned in the U.S

  10. pointswest Avatar

    But you know…I’ll bet many of the people posting in here gained some or most of their interest in wildlife by viewing faux wildlife photos and video. Who here does not know that Ol’ Yeller died from (or was put down for) rabies he contracted from a big bad wolf?

    It is similar to the argument that news should not be entertaining because news is too important. If news were not entertaining, however, many fewer people would watch or read it.

    I will even go one more. I think most lupus-philes see some aspect of themselves in wolves or they see some strength in wolves they wished they had. However, it is all in their imagination because wolves’ behavior is often anthropomorphized or misinterpreted by humans to be some human-like behavior or trait when it is, in fact, very different and nearly impossible for humans to relate too.

  11. Moose Avatar


    You do know that Ol’ Yeller was fiction, right?

    As far as the anthropomorphizing of wolves….I don’t think it skews to one side of the debate – how many anti-wolfers bring up that wolves kill for “sport” or “pleasure”…that wolves are ‘evil’, etc., ….not a whole lot of difference there.

    1. pointswest Avatar

      Calm down Moose…I wasn’t picking on the lupus-philes and I do not beleive it skews to one side of the debate. The lupus-phobes anthropomorphize every bit ast much as the lupus-philes. I only mentioned the lupus-philes because that is what this site was created for.

      …and yes, I knew Old Yeller was fiction but my crying at the end when he got shot was real.

  12. Linda Hunter Avatar

    It is just as sickening to see pictures of grizzly bears with fangs dripping on hind feet in supposed attack mode. . when anyone who knows about bears knows that is a false, misleading image. . as it is to see animals made to look cute. There are also ethical wildlife artists who try and only paint from wild animals and those who just download a stock photo to paint from . . eventually collectors will understand the difference. Thankfully there is this article and perhaps it is no wonder that people who don’t personally investigate wildlife have no clue about them. I remember all too well the supposed “discovery channel” who came to Alaska to film wild bears and asked me to get them shots that would fit their pre-conceived script. What a wake up call. When I tell people I have not watched TV in 30 years they try and tell me all the cool wildlife programs I am missing out on. . after seeing how these so called wildlife films are made I realize the only way to learn about animals is to go in the woods and watch them yourself. It may by why some posters here have been so confused about the “facts”.

  13. Larry Zuckerman Avatar

    I knew about Marlin Perkins while attending Colorado State University for grad school. One of my grad student colleagues was studying bobcats and Marlin joined him at the Fort Carson Army Base near Colorado Springs. When the grad student had located a wild bobcat for the film crew of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, he was stunned that they were not interested and preferred using their captive, stunt bobcat for the film shots.

    1. WM Avatar

      I was once involved in the aftermath of a filming event for an international airline. The sponsor wanted a Bengal tiger filmed in the wild as a backdrop for a TV ad. A film crew went to India for that purpose. Tigers are, to a large extent, nocturnal so they did not get the footage they needed. Next best thing was to find somebody in the US with a trained tiger on a game farm that would go from Cage A to Cage B on command (an air horn), where a nice juicy steak was awaiting.

      Just out of camera range was portable wooden slat fence held by volunteers to keep the tiger from straying off course. Cage A is opened simultaneously as the air horn goes off. Tiger is headed for the steak in Cage B, then is distracted by movement when a volunteer holding the fence tripped. Tiger heads to the volunteer, grabs them by the back of the neck and hauls them off into the brush for a meal. This all happens in less than a minute. So much for faux photography. By the way the volunteer recovered after a fairly lengthy hospital stay. The ad was never made.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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