Is the image more important than the subject? Hint: NO! Moreover, I can’t even think of a hypothetical where it might be.
If you have been reading my blog, you know that I recently returned home from Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve appalled and concerned by the behavior of some fellow photographers. See Ethics And Courtesy In Pursuit Of An Image. The Audubon Society has just published online Too Close for Comfort, an article from its May/June 2015 magazine, detailing how some photographers are pushing the limits and hurting wildlife in pursuit of an image. I highly recommend the article.
And, let’s all remember that our national parks and wildlife refuges are fragile, the animals we photograph are live there, and we are mere visitors.