Photographer apologises for using stock images as his own

An image posted by Mr Daryl Aiden Yow on his Instagram account was a doctored Shutterstock image (right).
An image posted by Mr Daryl Aiden Yow on his Instagram account was a doctored Shutterstock image.PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK, DARYLAIDEN/INSTAGRAM
An image posted by Mr Daryl Aiden Yow on his Instagram account was a doctored Shutterstock image (right).
An image posted by Mr Daryl Aiden Yow on his Instagram account was a doctored Shutterstock image (above).PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK, DARYLAIDEN/INSTAGRAM

A Singapore photographer has apologised for passing off stock images on his Instagram account as his own and using the doctored images to promote products and services.

Mr Daryl Aiden Yow, 27, who has more than 100,000 followers, posted his apology on his account yesterday, a day after local news site Mothership said it suspected him of doctoring stock images and claiming them as his own work.

Mr Yow said: "The outrage regarding how I have conducted myself is justified and I accept full responsibility for my actions and all consequences that arise from those actions.

"I was wrong to have claimed that stock images and other people's work were my own. I was also wrong to have used false captions that misled my followers and those who viewed my images.

"Having marketed myself as a photographer, I fell far short of what was expected of me and disappointed those who believed - or wanted to believe - in me. For all of that, I apologise."

Many of Mr Yow's Instagram photos looked like stock images found on royalty-free stock photo sites, including Shutterstock and Getty Images.

In the caption for a photo showing a whitewashed building set against turquoise waters with bougainvillea flowers in the foreground, Mr Yow had said it was of the Greek island Santorini and that he had captured the shot with the Sony a7R II.

He added: "Look at the kind of colours this camera produces!"

Mr Yow has since deleted the photo and other images.

When contacted before he posted his apology, Sony Singapore said it is "surprised and disappointed" by the report and is looking into the matter.

"Sony strongly encourages the art of creativity, however, we do not condone any action such as plagiarism and take a serious stance on it."

When asked if it was aware that Mr Yow had used stock photos, a spokesman declined to comment further.

Mr Dennis Toh, founder of marketing agency The Influencer Network, told ST there is "nothing wrong" with buying and reposting stock photos on social media.

"However, if there's an intention to deceive or misrepresent, which in this case he is a photographer, then the act has infringed good ethical boundaries," he added.


Note: This story has been edited for clarity. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2018, with the headline 'Photographer apologises for using stock images as his own'. Print Edition | Subscribe