The Nikon Plane Shot Incident


Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 3.51.39 pm

You’ll have no doubt heard about this by now. Nikon ran an amateur photo contest, and picked the above photo as the winner. Little did they know what an online storm that it would create.

On January 11 this year, Nikon encouraged amateur photographers to submit their ‘monochrome photography’ for a chance to win their Nikon trolley bag. It wasn’t long before Mr Chay Yu Wei submitted his photo – an image of a tiny airplane as viewed through a stairwell. He even joked that he didn’t wait long to catch sight of an airplane as it passed through the centre of his viewfinder.

Then on January 28, Nikon picked his photo as the winning entry – to the chagrin of other participants who, quite rightly, bombarded Nikon and the unsuspecting photographer with accusations of fraud. The photo was obviously Photoshopped – as was illustrated by a fellow photographer who analysed the photo. However, in Nikon’s terms & conditions, they didn’t omit the possibility that photos could be Photoshopped. However, images have to be original. But was it?

It turns out that a very similar photo was uploaded onto Instagram a year before – complete with the stairwell and airplane in the shot – from another Instagrammer, Lee Yik Keat. In his post, he made it public that he Photoshopped the image with the hashtag #putaplaneonit.

In the storm that ensued, Nikon published apologies – TWO of them, in fact, to the general public for their oversight. In the second apology, they actually removed the photograph. The offending photographer, Mr Yu, also posted a long apology on his own Instagram page.


Unfortunately, the Instagram audience was not swayed. Check out some of the comments (ouch):

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 5.26.51 pm

The moral of the story is: if you do cheat, don’t get caught?