Return of Bambi and Thumper
Tanja Askani, a Czech author, photographer, and animal scientist living in Germany, has disseminated a series of Bambi-Thumper photos that have gone viral on the internet. People find them adorable. When I received the series in my e-mail, I thought they looked too good to be true. They were.
After downloading the photos and examining them in zoom view, I found clear evidence that every photo had been altered substantially. We’re not talking about subtle adjustments in contrast or lighting. The “reality” of animal tenderness and bonding shown in the photos is the result of digital artifice.
Askani’s creative combinations of two more photos into one made me wonder. Were the deer and rabbit ever actually nose to nose? My hunch is that Askani got some good shots but could not resist tinkering with them. I think she ended up creating the photos she wished she had taken, not the ones she actually took. Being a Photoshop expert, I know the temptation to make a good image better. But pasting one image on top of another and passing it off as a miracle of interspecies bonding is fraud.
Arrows in the photos point to some of the areas of Photoshop fakery. The paste-ins, blending and use of line tools and brushes weren’t even done skillfully. Methinks Ms. Askani has got herself in a bind with her now-famous Bambi-Thumper photographs. How can she acknowledge her deception (which will surely be exposed) and maintain any kind of reputation as an animal photographer? Or animal scientist, for that matter.
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