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Wildflower Photo puzzle solved!

May 21, 2008

(Referring to this post)

Lucy wins the prize for recognizing the mountains as Grand Teton National Park and sending me here, which prompted me to try this search, which led me to this website, and I shall now copy a portion of what this photographer has to say about the very photograph in question:

(and I quote: )


“There is an image on WebShots that is a bit closer to the point, another totally fabricated image. This one is called “Grand Teton and Wildflowers, Wyoming.” This photograph is not possible. First of all, I have photographed at this same location in the Tetons. It’s the famous Ox Bow bend in the river and I can vouch for the fact that there are no wildflowers growing anywhere around there, especially in such profusion. Second, the ‘wildflowers’ presented here are anything but wildflowers. Rather, they are a photograph from a lush domestic garden superimposed on the otherwise beautiful photograph of Mt. Moran and the river. Certainly this is not fine art.


“With examples such as these is it any wonder that people question whether a photograph is ‘real’ or not. And it muddies the issue as to the amount of freedom an artist can take with an image.

“Galen Rowell discussed the ethical issues of landscape with regards to altering an image. Now mind you Galen shot film. He was killed before the digital tsunami hit and he, as many other film photographers, claimed to not enhance his prints. (We’ll come back to this later.) But the point here is that Galen Rowell didn’t even feel it was legitimate to move a log or add a rock to a scene. He was in fact very careful if he needed to move some blades of grass out of the way to get a clear shot at the composition he wanted. He would never just rip them out but rather carefully bend them out of the way and then restore them when he was done shooting.

“My mentor, Alain Briot (you can see his beautiful landscape photographs at has a quote he likes to use (and I paraphrase), “My photographs are not realistic but they are believable.” As with other great photographers he reserves for himself the freedom to express his feelings, his vision without being confined to a ‘realistic’ depiction of the scene in front of him. But I think you will agree if you take some time to look at his website that his vision is believable.”


So, the answer to my own initial response, which was “who knew that nature can look like Disneyland?” Is that…it can’t!

But honestly, with beauty like this, who needs to photoshop West Dean Garden into it? (Each one being wonderful in its own right, but not meant to be mixed!)

Lucy has earned (for more than one reason) ; ) some of the Reeces Pieces and Crunchy Cheetos that Carly is bringing me from America next week!

It’s interesting, what the author has to say, because I used to have a theory that photographs could depict nature as pristine, so long as that was how you found it, (because photos don’t lie right?) ; ) but I always felt that paintings of a landscape had to have a bit of imperfection–a nice rugged scene–otherwise they look contrived and, well, unrealistic. But maybe I just felt this way b/c I’m more of a painter than I am a photographer, so I’d given paintings more thought than photographs


Right, erm…

back to essay-writing!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Laurie permalink
    May 21, 2008 11:08 pm

    that is so interesting! I knew that bubble gum pink and purple was too good to be true. Its very interesting to think about how people manipulate landscape and place. The romanticized idea of the place in the photograph is the very synopsis the longing people have to acquire something outside of their means. This is why people go into debt, and also why people get plastic surgery. I think Thomas Kinkade should paint that photograph

  2. lilbooks permalink*
    May 21, 2008 11:15 pm

    Laurie, I thought of Kinkade, too! And…I think he _has_ painted that photograph! ;)

  3. lilbooks permalink*
    May 21, 2008 11:15 pm

    PS your randomly generated quilt block avatar is a cool one!

  4. zstitches permalink
    May 22, 2008 6:06 am

    I’m glad the mystery’s solved (amazing research by you and Lucy) because that photo just didn’t sit right with me.

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