Update: The original artist Chay Yu Weiwon has released the following statement on Instagram.
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.”
Hilarity ensued immediately after Nikon Singapore announced a controversial winner to a photography contest on its Facebook page earlier this week. Chay Yu Weiwon was congratulated as a winner for capturing a perfect shot of an airplane framed by a ladder in Chinatown.
“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,” Nikon wrote. “Little did he expect to catch an airplane in mid-air. We’ll try looking up too, Yu Wei.”
Chay was supposed to have won a Nikon-branded trolley bag for the photo that he claimed was shot with a Nikon D90 at f/2.8 and 1/1600s.
His winning photo would have been great if it wasn’t so obviously manipulated. Several Facebook commenters pointed this out, with one stating that a simple levels adjustment would reveal the editing.
Of course, the internet took over and a slew of sarcastic photos that mocked the winning entry flooded the comment section. And boy, were they merciless:
This prompted a response from the page administrator that included this apology:
“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. “
As of press time, the prize-winning photo was already deleted from Nikon Singapore’s page.
Chay Yu Wei took to Instagram to apologize: “I crossed the line by submitting the photo for a competition.”