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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Missing Lynx: Award-winning wildlife photographer exposed as fraud - by a cat in winter fur in a 'summer' shot

By Rob Waugh

Photographer Terje Helleso admitted he had faked hundreds of wildlife images using Photoshop after observers spotted a Lynx in its winter coat - in a summer photo

Helleso has been involved in a project to document the cat, a native of Sweden under acute environmental pressure.

He denied the charges, but Swedish website Flashback.org started examining his images and turned up multiple instances of what looked to be photo-fraud.

Flashback set up a website dedicated to exposing the artist, showing clearly that stock pictures of animals had been transported from their original homes to Helleso's work.

Terje Helleso 'at work' - the photographer was stripped of his Swedish photography awards after he admitted faking shots

Helleso admitted he'd been rumbled on September 3, and has now been publicly humiliated in the Swedish media, stripped of his award, charged with fraud and expelled from the Wildlife Photographers Association.

One of Terje Helleso's images - many were simply stolen from stock photography

Speaking on Swedish radio this week, the humbled cheat explained: 'I was under pressure, mostly from myself, and I gave in to temptation.'

He added: 'Looking back, I’m surprised that I got away with it for so long, and that I managed to keep up appearances to my wife and everyone else.'

Oddly, he is not the first Norwegian to fake an acquaintance with the wild: Norwegian hunter and adventurer Kristoffer Clausen, wrote a best-selling book and became a TV star after spending a year 'in the wild'.

Later, he admitted he spent most of the time in a Swedish hotel, and wrote his blog from his car.



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