In addition to being a scientist, Frans de Waal has come to be known by many people as a great photographer of the apes he studies. Frans has even released a book, My Family Album, of ape photographs that he has taken during that past 30 years.
Recently, Frans was contacted by a publishing company asking if one of his bonobo photographs could be used on the cover of a book. A few days later he received a similar e-mail. Assuming that these e-mails were from the same person Frans gave permission. However, Frans had just given permission to two separate books.
All Frans could say for himself was “I am not a photo agency, but a busy scientist, so I don’t keep very careful track of this sort of requests, of which I get too many. And so yes, in my mind I must have thought I was dealing with a single book, and never realized I gave two permissions.”
Fortunately for Frans, no one seems too upset about the cover snaffu, although it did get some press coverage.
Update: The media followed up on their original story with an explanation of how all this happened. Read more here.
— Darby Proctor