The Truth About This Viral Photo Revealed – By The Photographer Who Took It

The Truth About This Viral Photo Revealed – By The Photographer Who Took It

The story behind a photo of an impala a split-second from death has been dispelled as totally false by its photographer Alison Buttigieg. She describes how "a highlight of [her] photography career has turned into a nightmare."

You’ve likely seen this photo circulating social media over the past week or so. The story accompanying it was that the impala had sacrificed herself to the cheetahs in order for her offspring to escape. The photo allegedly captures the mother's last glance before being killed. Many of those circulating the story also accompanied it with the fabrication of how the photographer had slumped into depression after taking it. Dramatic, huh?

Writing on Facebook, she called the fake story “sensationalism” in an attempt for media outlets to rack up more views. Buttigieg said:

A highlight of my photography career has turned into a nightmare. The photo with the fake story has been shared hundreds of thousands of times on various social media. What a vile world we live in, full of stupid gullible people spreading #fakenews like crazy.

Turns out the real story is the complete opposite. In actuality, the impala was used by a cheetah mother to teach her cubs how to hunt prey - except the cubs were more interested in playing with the impala instead. Buttigieg attributes the impala’s “calm” demeanor to being frozen in shock. Referencing the “defiance in its eyes,” she concludes, “[It’s] as if [the impala is] determined to stay beautiful and proud until its very end."

The cheetah mother eventually slew the impala herself.

You can see more of Buttigieg's work at her website, Facebook and Instagram.

[via AOL]

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12 Comments

Anonymous's picture

I could never take those kinds of photos. The story, without a photo, would be, "photographer attacks cheetah with camera before being slain by a pack of hyenas who're still laughing about it." :-)

Paolo Veglio's picture

I remember seeing this photo probably a year ago, on her NG yourshot page when she was explaining the "real" behind the scene, not the fake story that apparently is circulating right now. I say apparently because I haven't seen the fake version anywhere so far.

This article reminded me of a fake story behind a photo of a kangaroo which, according to most of the comments was still cuddling the partner even after her death. The reality was that the kangaroo was actually trying to have sex with her

Nick Murden's picture

I saw the fake version circulating on Imgur, which is an image based social media network. It even made it to the front page, I believe.

Seems a fair obvious rework of imagery...but negative reactions should have been anticipated. It is an effective provocative image that raises questions and thioughts than quick read that's immediately forgettable..I don't find it really offensive though..just a bit simplistic

ALEXANDER TARDIF's picture

#fakenews = #WMD of 2017

Well put Alexander

Roman Kazmierczak's picture

I wish I was as creative as those people making up stories...

Formally register copyright and file suit for damages against every corporate or business use of the image. With mandatory damages you can probably go back for a few dozen more trips.

Andrew Smith's picture

You can see the entire episode that goes with this picture on Netflix "Tales by Light". It is a show about photographers and their style that they like to shoot. It's a great series. Hers is on season 2.

Jack Alexander's picture

I didn't know that, thanks! Happen to know which episode?

Andrew Smith's picture

Season 2, I believe theirs are episodes 1 and 2.

Jack Alexander's picture

Thank you!