Amateur photographer wins Nikon Facebook photo contest and the ire and ridicule of hundreds of photography enthusiasts
The photography community went into an uproar on January 29 when an obviously and badly photoshopped, er PicsArted image won a Facebook contest sponsored by Nikon Singapore. Chay Yu Wei claimed in his initial submission that he managed to “catch an airplane in mid-air” framed by a set of ladders during a photo walk in Chinatown using his Nikon D90. He has since apologized about his “mistake,” explaining that it was simply a joke that went too far. He said, “I made a mistake by not keeping it to Instagram as a casual social media platform. I crossed the line by submitting the photo for a competition.”
Entitled “Look Up,” Nikon sat up and took notice by presenting him with a trolley bag. The post went viral as photographers quickly posted their two cents, and their own hilarious versions of the same “mistake.”
Here comes the Memes
It took Nikon just a beat to respond to the scathing remarks of public, including a few from their own 10,000 Facebook fans. The company posted this message:
“We have heard your comments and feedback on this, and you are right – we should not compromise standards even for a casual photo contest. We have dialogued internally, with the community and with our loyal fans, and Yu Wei has also posted his own views on this issue. We have made an honest mistake and the rousing response from the community today is a reminder to us that the true spirit of photography is very much alive. Moving forward, we will tighten our image review process to avoid similar situations in the future. Thank you once again for all your responses today – for your humour and most of all, your candour and honesty. We hope not to disappoint you in the future and to continue to have your support.”
Respondents were merciless in grilling Nikon for poor screening, at which point Nikon attempted to downplay the incident:
“NikonCaptures is a casual photography contest that focuses not on the devices or props you use, but on the imagination and creativity that each photographer exudes while capturing and sharing their images. 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.”
As it is also turning out, this is not the first time this kind of photo was posted online. Street photographer Lee Yik Keat has a nearly identical one on Instagram, and about a thousand more along the same vein. People also started to comment on this particular one, but the main difference is that the artist made no bones about it being a “double image into a edit.” He did not reply with “I was lucky” when someone asked how he managed to capture the image.
Hello everyone, This goes out to everyone who has seen my Chinatown plane post. I’m sorry! This is going to be quite a read so that’s the first thing I would like you to read if you don’t have time to read below; I would like to apologize for the mistake I have done. I’ve been quiet so far because I’ve been trying to contact Nikon and have been waiting for them to contact me back to discuss about this. I understand that what I would say might affect Nikon’s brand hence I decided to wait for their advice. However, since more than 24 hours have passed and I have not managed to have discussions with Nikon, I think I shouldn’t wait and it’s important for me to come out to address this issue. 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. That’s how I use Instagram, sometime it’s to showcase the work I’m proud of, sometimes just to have fun. This case, that small plane was just for fun and it was not meant to bluff anyone. I would have done it with photoshop if I really meant to lie about it, but no, it was a playful edit using the PicsArt app and uploaded to Instagram. When my friends commented with some questions, I also answered it jokingly, saying it’s the last flight of the day and saying it was my lucky day that I did not wait too long. At that time, of course everyone who read it took it as a joke, before this issue arrived and it is taken seriously. However, I made a mistake by not keeping it to Instagram as a casual social media platform. 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 in using PicsArt. This is my fault and I sincerely apologise to Nikon, to all Nikon Photographers, and to the photography community as general.
Some people commented charitably “everyone makes mistakes” and “everybody edits images” after Yu Wei posted his apology and explanation. While these are undoubtedly, neither actually applies to what happened in this instance. .