I heard this story on Radio 4 this evening while I was cooking and was so intrigued I went to search the picture. The report below is taken from the Telegraph’s report. It doesn’t quite say the same as the BBC report which made the allegation that the wolf was ‘tame,’ a captive from a zoo or similar. The question I asked myself when I saw it was this: is it that great a picture? To which my answer was, Not really. I don’t know whether it was because I’d already heard the suggestion of fakery and that this made me think there was something about the wolf of stuffed animal in a museum. Or perhaps it’s that the photography is too perfect, the lighting too staged, the gate too carefully selected. The whole thing has an airbrushed quality. Maybe I’m just looking for a bit of a blur, something unrehearsed. I’ll paste a picture of Philip and Diddley, who some will know, at the bottom as a comparison, as an example of something I might prefer the idea of.
Jose Luis Rodriguez, a Spanish photographer, beat 43,000 entries to claim the £10,000 prize at a ceremony in October. He said that the wolf was wild and that he had laid some meat as bait to tempt it over the fence.
However, the Natural History Museum, which organises the contest in conjunction with the BBC Wildlife Magazine, received a complaint that the wolf was tame. The rules state that no “animal models” can be used.
A spokesman said: “The Museum is aware of an allegation as to the veracity of the photograph, Storybook Wolf, by Jose Luis Rodriguez, specifically that an animal model was used in breach of the competition rules. We are investigating this thoroughly with the judging panel and will report back in the New Year once our investigations are completed.
“Mr Rodriguez strongly denies any wrongdoing or breach of the competition rules.”
In his notes about the photograph, Mr Rodriguez said he had “visualised this image many years ago” and that the picture symbolised “the ancient conflict between humans and wolves”. He explained how he tempted the wild animal over a fence into a disused cattle corral every night for several weeks until he captured the perfect shot, with the wolf triggering the flash via a trip beam.