Nature photographers worldwide are watching a scandal that has come to light in Sweden over the last few days. Terje Helloso, a widely regarded nature photographer, was exposed and subsequently admitted to publishing multiple photographs in which endangered (hard to find) animals were inserted into nature scenes using Photoshop. It was due to some of these photos that Helloso was named Nature Photographer of the Year by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency in 2010.
Swedish animal conservationist Gunnar Gloerson was the first to suspect the images were frauds when he noticed one of the photos, reportedly captured around July, showed a rare Lynx with winter fur which shouldn’t be the case during summer months.
Gloerson also noted, “In less than a year, (Helles) became friends with six wild lynx in Mullingar! A total of 150 lynx observations at 9 months!…Most nature photographers are struggling for life for the perfect shot where the light is perfect and the wild animal is in the right place. This photographer seems to take such a picture (every) week!”
As photo editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop become more advanced, it is becoming increasingly difficult to know whether a photo has been digitally altered or not. As more scandals like this come to light, I wonder if award agencies will introduce new measures to determine how photographers are post-processing their images.
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