Nikon Awards Photo Prize to Photoshopped Photo, Hilarity Ensues


With the increasing use of Photoshop and other photo editing programs to make your photographs look ‘just right’, every now and then someone gets caught out taking a bit too far.

This was definitely the case with Nikon Singapore when they posted an announcement on its Facebook page on the weekend (since deleted), congratulating a photographer named Chay Yu Wei 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.”

For the photo, reportedly shot with a Nikon D90 at f/2.8 and 1/1600s, Chay was gifted with a Nikon-branded trolley bag.

Upon closer inspection, however, a white box can be seen around the airplane. Photographers quickly pointed out that the photo is clearly the result of editing, and sarcastic comments soon flooded the post. One commenter pointed out that a simple levels adjustment reveals this box quite clearly:


Photographers were merciless in their witty responses. Here’s a sampling of other highest voted comments that were left on the post:

"Can I haz one Trolly Bag too?"

"Chanced upon a set of ladders while on a photowalk with my friends in Chinatown, and thought the view above would make an interesting perspective. Little did I expect to catch my Lao Peh's head in mid-air.. And he said he'll give me a Nikon D90 to practice the Force.


"Such a poor copy and paste by Yu Wei can win a Nikon trolley bag, my entry can win the new Nikon D5 with AF-S 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR. "

"if you look closer, it's actually an aeroplane from minecraft"


"Dear Yu Wei, you might like to know the feature called "Multiply" layer blending mode in Adobe Photoshop. This way, your white box will not be seen, and not become a laughing stock. Oh well... the organisers might have failed in selection stage too. LOL"

Yu Sheng 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. Little did he expect to catch a bride in mid-air aisle. We’ll try looking up too, Yu Sheng; your shot has won you a Nikon troll butt of all jokes bag. Congratulations!

The photographer responded to one fan on instagram saying that he didn’t have to wait too long for the plane because he got “lucky”:



Update on 1/30/16: Here’s a statement/explanation given to PetaPixel by Chay Yu Wei:

I am the one who submitted the Chinatown plane post, and I would like to address it.

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.

This has been a great lesson to me, and I hope I will be a wiser person to use this as encouragement to polish my photography skill. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I also appreciate all the supports from friends around me.

(Via PetaPixel)

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One Comment

  1. At least he owned up. Well, he even fudged that too….
    He lied. Ok, let it go, just give the prize back. I photoshop all the time, it is what makes photography worth it to me. I have always been a painter and part of being creative is adjusting your image. Maybe is is a new art form. But it has existed ever since a photographer in the dark room made a hole in a piece of cardboard to expose a small area of the image more than the rest. Or made a double exposure. The purist idea that all good photographs are straight from the camera deserve their own niche of course. A small one, like the Amish, but one nevertheless.

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