Sasin Tipchai is a talented photographer from Thailand who shares many of his amazing photos on Pixabay. As he designated the images as public domain via Creative Commons, anyone can technically use his photos for any purposes.
What Tipchai did not expect was that someone would steal his photos to enter international photography competitions.
As it turns out, a Swiss photographer by the name of Madeleine Josephine Fierz won first prize at the Moscow International Foto Awards and grabbed a second place award at the Fine Art Photo Awards earlier this year using Tipchai’s work, Khaosod English reports.
Accompanying the entry for Moscow International Foto Awards, Fierz wrote: “On my journeys always important topics are of interest to me. This is the result of my photographic projects, as in these pictures of Asia. These children and the two women made me amazing and fascinated. I find special places and to capture such moods were very impressive for me.”
Using Tipchai’s images, Fierz was able to win $3,000 from Fine Art Photo in April and $100 from Moscow International in July.
Tipchai eventually discovered the thievery and took to Facebook to express his dismay.
“My pictures were used by a foreigner for a photo contest to win an award,” Tipchai wrote. “[…] 99 percent of the portfolio belongs to me.”
After Fierz’s was exposed, she was immediately stripped off of her prizes in both competitions.
“She claimed since she bought these photos, she thought that she could manipulate it a little and claim it as her art,” Moscow contest jury member Hossein Farmani wrote in response to Sasin. “As a jury of MIFA we take these allegations very seriously and we investigate and delete images in question as soon as we can verify the facts.
“It’s almost impossible for us to know which images belong to whom unless photographers let us know like you did.”
Check out some of Sasin’s other incredible works below: