- An Instagram star with 104,000 followers was caught impersonating her own.
- Singapore-based Daryl Aiden Yow was surprised by a story published by the Mothership news site.
- Yow had worked with big brands like Sony and Uniqlo.
- All of his images have now been deleted – hundreds as this article is written.
An Instagram star with 104,000 followers was caught using stock photographs and claiming them as her own.
Daryl Aiden Yow, a photographer from Singapore, admitted to posting the content of the stock after news site Mothership called it out, highlighting a number of examples.
In an interview with Singapore’s Today newspaper, Yow said all the photos on his Instagram profile, which are bright, colorful and feature travel, food and fashion, were “professionally taken” by him.
“I’m a photographer and the expectations of me are different,” he said. “I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my photos.”
However, Mothership wrote that after an anonymous tip, “We learned that for some reason several samples of his work looked incredibly similar to those taken by other photographers – and even some stock footage.”
In most cases, the original images can be traced to sites such as Shutterstock, CanStockPhoto and Unsplash. The color and composition of the photos had been altered, but the images were basically the same.
An image of the Faroe Islands posted to his account in January 2017 had already been spotted by a reader on another Instagram account, @visitfaroeislands, in March the previous year.
Meanwhile, a photo showing Santorini, Greece that Yow claimed to have “taken with the Sony A7RII” has been found on Shutterstock – and was in fact taken with a Canon.
On Thursday, Yow posted an apology on Instagram admitting the accusations.
“The outrage over the way I conducted myself is warranted and I accept full responsibility for my actions and any resulting consequences,” he wrote.
Hey everyone, I had no intention of posting a statement regarding recent events, largely because I didn’t know how I could accurately express how sorry I am. But seeing how people are now making unsubstantiated and false allegations against my loved ones – simply by mere association – I decided to confront the facts instead of leaving them subject to speculation. I didn’t want to let anyone down anymore. The outrage over the way I conducted myself is warranted and I accept full responsibility for my actions and any consequences that flow from them. I was wrong to claim that other people’s stock footage and work was my own. I was also wrong for using fake captions which misled my followers and those who viewed my images. After introducing myself as a photographer, I fell far short of what was expected of me and disappointed those who believed or wanted to believe in me. For all of this, I apologize. My relatives do not agree with my actions and have requested, whenever they feel something is wrong with my images, that I immediately stop my actions. I didn’t take their advice seriously and gave reasons that I think would allay their concerns about these images, just enough for us to move on to other matters. I let them down with my actions. I would also like to take the opportunity to purify the air. The end products of my collaborations with my friends have remained honest and fair. Whatever shortcomings I have, I have not brought them to my collaborations. It would not have been fair to those who collaborated with me, nor would they have allowed such practices to take place. These people are hard working professionals and I have been hurt to see people making baseless allegations or innuendos against them or questioning their integrity. They shouldn’t be harassed for my mistakes. To that end, I hope these baseless allegations or insinuations will stop. I know I made a mistake and I hope I will be given the time and space to grow and improve. For those who supported me, I want to thank you and hope that I can earn such kindness in the future.
“I was wrong for claiming that other people’s stock footage and work was my own. I was also wrong for using false captions that misled my followers and those who have seen my pictures.
“After marketing myself as a photographer, I fell far short of what was expected of me and disappointed those who believed – or wanted to believe – in me. For all of this, I apologize.”
Yow rose to fame through his association with fashion blogger and Instagram influencer Andrea Chong, according to Mothership.
According to the BBC, Yow had also worked with a number of big brands, including Sony, Oppo and Uniqlo. Sony had even promoted his work through a marketing campaign on the company’s website.
A Sony representative told Mothership, “We are surprised and disappointed with what has been reported and are currently reviewing this matter.
“Sony strongly encourages the art of creativity, but we do not condone any action such as plagiarism and take a serious stance on it.”
Yow has deleted all of his Instagram photos — other than the apology — since the Mothership article was posted.
Even as this article is being written, hundreds of images that were originally on the profile have been deleted.
Here is an example of an image that was removed while writing this article:
It seems his followers weren’t – and still aren’t – convinced that the images that remained were his.
Now deleted, an aerial image titled “Nowhere”, which is shown in the screenshot below and which appeared to have been taken by a drone, included the comment: “What brand of drone did you use? Gettyimages? 500px ?” while another user wrote: “Where did you steal this photo?”