Leading article: Candid camera?

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The Independent Online

It is an incredible image: an Iberian wolf captured by the camera in the act of leaping over a rustic gate. It is a photograph of astonishing power and beauty. The trouble is that the image is also incredible in another, more literal, sense. José Luis Rodriguez has been stripped by the Natural History Museum of his award for Wildlife Photographer of the Year, after the judges concluded that he'd used a tame wolf to stage the picture.

If the judges are correct, Mr Rodriguez finds himself in distinguished company. Robert Capa was recently accused of staging his Spanish Civil War image of a falling Republican soldier. Robert Doisneau's The Kiss by the Hotel de Ville, which did wonders for Paris' reputation as a capital of romance, has also been exposed as a staged shot.

Indeed, many of the photographs that are best remembered today are the ones that have some artifice behind their creation. So though Mr Rodriguez has been stripped of this prize, who is to say a greater one does not await?

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