Some wildlife photographers pay to rent animals from game farms, take pictures of these models, and pass off the images as “wildlife”—what Ted Williams describes in his March-April 2010 Incite column as “close-up action shots with every whisker in perfect focus.”
It may not sound so bad, but in reality, life on a game farm isn’t easy for the animals, causing some people to call this practice inhumane and exploitation. Plus, these perfect images paint an inaccurate—and often-too-optimistic—picture of how wild animals look in nature. Not to mention the detriment to photographers who actually spend countless time and effort to capture these creatures in their true habitats.
There’s still debate over certain aspects of game farms. Too many people in the wild can stress animals, and these images do provide a means to showcase the majesty of wildlife. However, not everyone who uses these photographs provides honest details about their origins. And therein lies Williams’s biggest gripe. Honesty changes the whole equation.
In Williams's column, find out more about the origins of game farms, how images from these places have gotten publications in trouble, and what you can do to help.