Yesterday, Nikon Singapore was ruthlessly attacked for selecting a doctored submission as the winning entry for a “NikonCaptures” contest organised on its Facebook page.
The photograph, apparently shot with a Nikon D90 at f/2.8 and 1/1600s by one Chay Yu Wei, featured an airplane flying in mid-air above a fixed vertical access ladder.
Chay was gifted with a Nikon-branded trolley bag for his “winning shot”.
However, some eagle-eyed Facebook users pointed out that a white box can be seen around the airplane. As expected, Nikon Singapore’s Facebook page is quite closely and heavily followed by photography enthusiasts so they’d be able to pick out things that an average Facebook user would usually overlook.
One commenter even took the liberty to adjust the levels, revealing the said box:
Other users who seemed familiar with aviation standards in Singapore also pointed out the “restricted area near Chinatown” that prevents airplanes from flying that low.
As such, Chay’s submission drew flak from Facebook users, with many calling it out to be fake – for obvious reasons.
The fact that Chay casually replied his Instagram post’s comments (albeit weeks ago) with, “It’s the last flight out!!” and “I was lucky!” certainly didn’t help his case.
What followed suit was a shitstorm and a PR disaster of sorts, with various Facebook users creating their own edited versions/memes and posting them up in the comments section of the “winning shot” post. At first, Nikon Singapore responded to the memes, but it looks like the replies have since been removed.
Below are some of the funniest “edits”:
At about noon yesterday (Saturday, 30th January), Nikon Singapore finally responded to the influx of memes and sarcastic comments on their page.
In their statement, they said, “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.”
“At the same time, we welcome the funny and witty entries being shared in response to our recently awarded image. It’s with joy that we acknowledge that the global photography and image community is alive and thriving. We thank you for the numerous spontaneous contributions and encourage everyone to keep the imagination alive,” they added.
The statement was met with more negative replies, with some calling it out to be a “very safe PR reply”, urging Nikon Singapore to reselect the winner. Some even chided Nikon Singapore for wanting to be associated with “shopped work” should Chay Yu Wei not be immediately disqualified.
Shortly after, Chay posted up an apology on his Instagram, confessing that his NikonCaptures submission was indeed edited. He explained that he snapped a picture of that set of ladder while he was on a photo walk in Chinatown, but subsequently felt that a plane would make for an “interesting point of view”.
Chay said that it was “a playful edit using the PicsArt app” and that he didn’t mean to “bluff anyone”, adding that it was a joke and that he “crossed the line by submitting the photo for a competition”.
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.
After which, Nikon Singapore posted up another statement to admit that they “made an honest mistake” and that they shouldn’t compromise standards even for a casual photo contest.
The company also assured followers that they will tighten their image review process to avoid similar situations in the future.
What do you make of the NikonCaptures situation? Do you think that Chay Yu Wei should’ve been disqualified? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.