The Cool Frog and Photography Cruelty

It may be a sign of our photoshopped times that many don’t trust their own eyes anymore. Everything can be completely fabricated in Photoshop. Take Paul Hansen’s Gaza Burial, awarded the World Press Photo of 2013. Many say it’s doctored, the light’s just too perfect. Now here comes a cute innocent little frog clinging to a leaf umbrella. The photo Frog Wearing Umbrella was recently published in National Geographic’s readers’ gallery — and a firestorm erupted whether it’s mere Photoshop and/or staged while others allege cruel animal abuse.

If you want my unimportant opinion, the controversy is not worth a millisecond of attention. Indonesian photographer Penkdix Palme, who posted additional cool frog and animal shots, lives in a biosphere that’s brimming with life. Give this young man a break. It’s praise due where praise is due. While many photographer these days completely rely on their fully automated snapping machines that take away any thinking, some still cultivate the virtues of skill, persistence, knowledge and talent. And it’s them that capture shots like this heck of a photograph.

Frog Wearing Umbrella | Penkdix Palme / National Geographic
Frog Wearing Umbrella | Penkdix Palme / National Geographic

Animal cruelty, manipulation… nothing else to worry about? Never seen any Attenborough documentary? Nothing strange about that frog’s pose. Palme may have himself placed the tiny little thing on the branch or, like here, on a carefully crafted float. Cruelty? Manipulation? Every “Say cheese!” to friends when you’re about to shoot them can be as cruel.

Anyways. Photographer Palme is saddened by the fuss his image causes. The frog is alive and he didn’t harm it in any way, he assures, while the debate rages on and a lonely contrarian commenter concluded, “Jealousy can morph into many faces.”




  • David Holliday

    I had a few green tree frogs that I kept as pets. I hope I saved a few from snakes. This was in the far North Coast of NSW. This frog does not look like it is suffering. It might have been placed in this position but that is no big deal. Maybe these frogs are so tame because they are so cute and nobody would want to hurt them.

    • Frogs can indeed be the jolliest of animals — as long as they’re not croaking all night. Just fished another one from our pond, that’s six within three days. I release them behind the house, there’s a little lake nearby, so they should be fine. But they’re in no way as cool as this little swaggerer… BTW Dave, how’s your X100S coming?

      • David Holliday

        Dan, I am very happy with it and have been neglecting the XE1. But I also got given a Leica M3 and some lenses (albeit not faster than 2.8)
        I have been flat out but would like to do some more stories. Like the history of the Leica and using the X100S
        .

  • B. D. Colen

    This image looks as genuine as Gaza Burial looks doctored.

  • B. D. Colen

    P.S. And the questions about the latter are actually worth losing sleep over.