Daryl Aiden Yow is a Singapore-based photographer and social media influencer who has over 100,000 followers on Instagram. He’s at the center of controversy today after it was found that many of his Instagram photos were actually uncredited images shot by others.
Mothership.SG first reported on Yow’s questionable practices, writing tongue-in-cheek that the photographer’s photos “are so lovely, they look stunningly like other people’s work.”
In a 2016 interview with Singapore’s TODAY newspaper, Yow was asked for his thoughts on what makes an Instagram feed attractive.
“All my Instagram photos are shot professionally — I don’t post iPhone photos — probably because I’m a photographer and there are different expectations of me,” Yow responded. “I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my photos.”
But Mothership found numerous examples of photos in Yow’s Instagram feed that look either identical or uncannily similar to photos by other photographers, including those found on prominent stock photography websites.
Here are some side-by-side examples discovered by Mothership through impressive and extensive digging online:
Hours after Motherboard‘s story was published and began going viral, Yow appears to have begun quietly deleting select photos from his Instagram account and editing the captions of others to include credits citing where he found the images.
Yow has also since provided a response to the controversy to Must Share News. The photographer admits that he uses stock photos, but says he legally licenses them prior to editing and/or publishing them — he claims to have receipts proving this.
For non-stock photos, Yow says he tries to tag them in the Instagram posts — though, crediting a photographer when copying and publishing a photo without permission is generally still copyright infringement.
“Daryl also claims that he does not sell such photos for personal profit,” Must Share News writes. “We asked him instead about work that he does with brands — in particular, creating sponsored content and posts. For client work, he explains that his clients are aware of the costs of these purchases. Daryl says that he would even submit the receipts to them upon completion of the job.
“As for the captions on his Insta-posts, he says that he never claimed they were taken live at the scene depicted.”
So even though many of Yow’s captions imply that he had captured the images on the spot, he never actually claimed to have shot those photos or to have actually visited those locations himself.
We’ve reached out to Yow for comment and will update this article if/when we hear back. He’s also reportedly planning to release an official statement to his Instagram account “soon.”