Singapore Instagram star apologises for deception after posting stock library images

Nicola Smith
Daryl Aiden Yow, who describes himself as a photographer, apologised when he was caught out

A popular Singaporean Instagram star has apologised to fans after being caught posting stock library images and indicating that it was his own work while promoting products and services. 

Daryl Aiden Yow, who describes himself as a photographer, has more than 101,000 followers on the social media site, and has worked with a number of high profile brands, including Sony and Uniqlo. 

However, his own brand as an acclaimed photographer posting stunning shots from around the world started to unravel this week when reporters working for the news site Mothership uncovered a dozen examples of edited pictures from other sites.

“S’pore photographer Daryl Aiden Yow’s pics are so lovely, they look stunningly like other people’s work,” read their damning headline. 

Original versions of the images, whose colour and composition had been changed, were sourced from Shutterstock and CanStockPhoto among other sites that included visitfaroeislands. 

In a lengthy confession released on Thursday, Yow expressed how sorry he was, saying the “outrage regarding how I have conducted myself is justified” and that he accepted full responsibility. 

“I was wrong to have claimed that stock images and other people’s work were my own. I was also wrong to have used false captions that misled my followers and those who viewed my images,” he wrote.

“Having marketed 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 that, I apologise.”

Mr Yow had described himself as a #SonyCreativeAlly in several posts and the Japanese multinational had promoted his work on its own website. 

Sony told Mothership that it was “surprised and disappointed” by the reports and was looking into the matter. 

“Sony strongly encourages the art of creativity, however we do not condone any action such as plagiarism and take a serious stance on it,” the firm said. 

Uniqlo told the Straits Times that it had engaged Mr Yow for a one-off travel campaign a year ago and that he conducted an in-store talk about his travels.

Several Instagram shots appear to have been removed since the deception was uncovered, and despite Mr Yow’s contrite apology, many fans have been less than forgiving. 

“Try offering online photoshop classes as a comeback. You may be even more successful than what you were before,” said one.  “Congrats on your infamy!” said another.