Winning photographer sorry for altered photo

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A photographer apologized after getting backlash for his winning photo which turned out to be tampered with.

Chay Yu Wei said he made a mistake of entering in Nikon Singapore’s NikonCaptures contest a photo with “a playful edit.” He said he should have just kept the photo on his Instagram.

“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,” he said in an Instagram post Saturday (January 30).

The post was accompanied by a photo which said: “Dear fellow photographers, I’m sorry.”

Yu Wei’s winning photo showed a view of the sky from within the rings of a ladder somewhere in Singapore’s Chinatown.

According to Nikon Singapore’s post, Yu Wei was on a photowalk with his friends when he stumbled upon the ladder and thought that a shot from that perspective would be interesting.

His good luck didn’t end there as an airplane flew by, allowing him to capture the serendipitous shot, the post continued.

Comments on the photo, however, poured in and revealed that the plane was just added into the picture.

Several comments also pointed out that simply adjusting the contrast would prove that the shot was faked, and should not be rewarded as it constitutes cheating.

'Not meant to bluff anyone'

Yu Wei said it wasn’t his intention to lie, otherwise he would have used Photoshop, a more sophisticated tool, than PicsArt.

“[T]hat small plane was just for fun and it was not meant to bluff anyone… 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,” he said.

Nevertheless, he said he shouldn’t have “jokingly" told the contest that he captured the shot with the plane in midair.


Nikon admitted that there was an “oversight” on their part and posted an apology on the comment section of the post.

It explained that it was a casual contest that focuses on the “imagination and creativity” of the photographer “while capturing and sharing their images.”

“At Nikon, we believe that innovation and imagination are at the heart of every image,” it added. Innovation is brought about by advances in camera technology, it explained, but imagination is the “ability to see greatness and use each and every tool at your disposal to make them real.”

At first, it said it would carefully review the contest rules for the benefit of others who joined. It later decided that it “should not compromise standards even for a casual photo contest.” Nikon promised to tighten its image review process to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

The camera company also welcomed the barrage of “funny and witty” photos, which parodied the prize-winning photo.

Instead of the plane, netizens Photoshopped into the picture some kittens, an approaching train, and even the Death Star of Star Wars, among others. One commenter retorted that the image wasn't Photoshopped as he has the same lens.