OnePlus Photo Contest Winner Stole His Photo From Instagram User – Who Used a Canon DLSR to Shoot It

Michael Zhang, writing for PetaPixel:

In September 2018, the Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus announced the winners of a #ShotonOnePlus photo contest in India to celebrate the best photos captured by its phone cameras. One of the winning shots was a shock to photographer Aman Bhargava: it looked strangely similar to a photo he had captured two years earlier on his Canon DSLR.

Submitted by photographer Pratyush Yadav, the photo looked like a slightly cropped version of a photo Bhargava captured in 2016 and posted to Instagram on May 22, 2017.

(The link to the contest winners has since been taken down by OnePlus.)

So there are two levels of fraud here. First, Yadav clearly stole the photo from Bhargava. There’s no question they’re identical, not merely very similar. Second, OnePlus selected it as a winner even though it was shot with a Canon DSLR, not one of their own phones.

Yadav was so bad at covering his tracks that he submitted the image with EXIF data (which is easily forged) that indicated the photo was shot in April 2017 using a OnePlus A6000 — a model that didn’t come out until May 2018.

Amidst the hubbub over Apple’s current Shot on iPhone contest, it occurred to me that Apple surely goes to extraordinary lengths to verify that the photos it advertises as having been “shot on iPhone” really were shot on an iPhone — and that they were shot by the photographer claiming to have shot them. This guy Yadav is the fraudster here, but it’s OnePlus that had the most to lose. Can you even imagine the bad publicity that would result if something like this — either a stolen photograph or a photo shot with an SLR (let alone both) — was named a winner in Apple’s contest?

Thursday, 7 February 2019