"You couldn't have gotten those shots in the wild," Triple D co-owner Jay Deist told me, and he was right. In 1972 he, his brother, and his father opened Triple D, but not for photographers. They were "going to save the world" by capturing and breeding vanishing wildlife. It didn't work out. But soon photographers began paying for sessions with the animals. Deist describes the early clientele as "very secretive, because they didn't want anyone to know the source."Read the full story at Utne Reader.
Concurrently, these amazing "wildlife photos" started showing up in magazines, calendars, and posters--close-up action shots with every whisker in perfect focus. Similar game farms sprang up around the country, though no one knows how many there are. Images of Triple D's snow leopards are proliferating like Internet pop-ups. In 2008 one even received first place in the viewers' choice "nature" category of National Geographic's international photography contest. Animals like snow leopards are in desperate trouble, but why should people believe this when they see sleek, healthy snow leopards every time they walk into a bookstore or open a "wildlife" calendar?
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