Photographer whose viral altered photo won Nikon Facebook contest apologises for his 'mistake'

A screengrab of Nikon Singapore's Facebook post on Friday (Jan 29) showing the winning entry. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The photographer behind an altered image that won a contest on Nikon's Facebook page has withdrawn his photo from the competition.

Nikon announced this on its Facebook page on Sunday (Jan 31) night after an apology and explanation drew more criticism from detractors.

The photo Look Up was also removed from Nikon's Facebook page.

The Japanese camera maker said it recognised that for the photographic community, the photoshopped image by Mr Chay Yu Wei was "not a reflection of photography".

Nikon said: "We have engaged with the contestant on this, who has offered to withdraw from the competition."

Mr Chay was awarded a prize for his black and white photo showing an aeroplane flying overhead, framed by a ladder. Scores of derisive comments and sarcastic memes were then posted on Nikon's page, with many saying the photo was digitally manipulated.

In an Instagram post late on Saturday (Jan 30), Mr Chay apologised for his "mistake", saying that he added the plane into the picture "just for fun" and that he crossed the line by submitting it for the competition.

"Like one user commented, I was on a photo walk in Chinatown and I chanced upon that set of ladders. I snapped a picture of it, and subsequently felt that a plane at that spot would make for an interesting point of view. Hence, I inserted the plane with PicsArt and uploaded it to Instagram," he wrote. "...This case, that small plane was just for fun and it was not meant to bluff anyone."

Embed Instagram

Mr Chay wrote that he made a mistake by not keeping the photo to Instagram, submitting it for Nikon's contest instead.

He said: "I crossed the line by submitting the photo for a competition. I meant it as a joke and I'm really sorry to Nikon for disrespecting the competition. It is a mistake and I shouldn't have done that.

"I also shouldn't have jokingly answered Nikon that I caught the plane in mid-air and should have just clarified that the plane was edited using PicsArt. This is my fault and I sincerely apologise to Nikon, to all Nikon Photographers, and to the photography community as general."

Many of the comments in reply to his Instagram post were positive, commending him for the apology.

"Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone has the courage to admit or take responsibility for their action," autumnlotus8 wrote.

Adonisamarante said: "Hope you've really learned a lesson here, we all did. Now move on and take this as a boost to your strength and honesty."

Nikon had posted earlier on Friday (Jan 29): "Yu Wei chanced upon a set of ladders while on a photowalk with his friends in Chinatown, and thought the view above would make an interesting perspective. Little did he expect to catch an airplane in mid-air. We'll try looking up too, Yu Wei; your shot has won you a Nikon trolley bag. Congratulations!"

But Facebook users responding to the post said that the aeroplane had been photoshopped into the image.

Nikon's Facebook post had more than 28,000 likes and almost 20,000 shares as of 10.20pm on Saturday, and had generated more than 8,000 comments and spawned many memes.

Facebook user Glenn Guan posted: " Such a poor copy and paste by Yu Wei can win a Nikon trolley bag, my entry can win the new Nikon D5 with AF-S 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR. LOL !!! Nikon Singapore should do better in future judging."

He attached an image of Godzilla peering down from the top of the ladder.

Others replaced the plane with images such as an MRT train, James Bond and Darth Vader along with sarcastic remarks. Facebook user Michael Minion wrote: "I wasn't so lucky, I waited at the same spot and only found Supergirl flying past at Mach2 speed. Lucky my D4 had 10fps and I managed to get this shot."

Nikon responded to the comments at about 1.30pm on Saturday (Jan 30) on its Facebook page, and said that it will be "revisiting the contest's rules and regulations".

Nikon said in the post: "We have taken in every feedback received, and we sincerely apologise for the oversight on our part. We are now in the process of carefully revisiting the contest's rules and regulations, for the benefit of all our current NikonCaptures members. We will update everyone of the contest rules once we have revisited all of them."

The camera maker explained that the contest was a casual photography contest that focused not on the devices or props participants used, but on the imagination and creativity of their images.

Here are some of the images that have been posted in response to Nikon's original post on Friday.

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