Nikon apologizes for awarding prize to digitally altered photo
Last week, Nikon Singapore chose an image submitted by photographer Chay Yu Wei as the winner of a ‘casual photo contest.’ Critics quickly pointed out that the airplane featured in the image had been digitally inserted, given away by the highly visible white square around the plane’s silhouette. Nikon and Yu Wei have both issued apologies over the submission, with Nikon saying it will bolster its image reviewing process ‘to avoid similar situations in the future.’
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.
Most sincerely, your Nikon team
Yu Wei posted his own lengthy apology on his Instagram account, saying in part:
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.
While Nikon’s apology seems genuine, we can’t help wondering how such an obviously altered image slipped through. We’re also not quite convinced by Wei’s apology, and DigitalRev points out that the concept for the image may not even be his either. What’s your take on the controversy? Let us know in the comments.