Samsung Awards Man For Stealing
August 26, 2013

Samsung Awards Man For Stealing

To promote their new line of Android-powered cameras, Samsung launched a photo contest last December, asking users to submit their best work. People submitted their photos to the “Live in the Moment” contest through Facebook and Instagram for several months before the Korean company selected a winner last month. Unfortunately, the winner, one @Bogdhan on Instagram, didn’t exactly take the picture that won the contest and a free Samsung camera. The photo of a motorcyclist riding through some fog-covered trees was actually taken by Hengki Koentjoro, a photographer with a good bit of fame around photo-centric web sites like 500px.

Now, I know it’s a stretch to tie this little example of theft to Samsung’s alleged theft of Apple’s design…but come on.

According to, Koentjoro didn’t realize his picture had been stolen until a friend saw it floating around Facebook as the winner of the Samsung contest. The stolen image isn’t much of a derivation from the original image, either. Before @Bogdhan submitted it to Samsung, he flipped it horizontally, gave it a slight crop and added an Instagram filter to it. That’s it.

When the picture’s owner found it on Facebook, he set the record straight in the photo’s comment section. Shortly thereafter, many other Facebookers jumped to his defense and called on Samsung to remove the photo and strip @bogdhan of his winnings. After all, this isn’t just a story about a stolen photo; it’s about a company who seemingly didn’t do any research on who actually took the photo. One can assume they simply saw the photo, thought “hey this looks cool” and gave him a free camera.

Samsung has taken some actions to rectify the situation, including removing the photo and taking away @Bogdhan’s title, just as they should have done. They also sent a nice little email to Koentjoro apologizing for their mistake. Those who represent the photographer, however, want Samsung to do much more than just apologize and try to pretend the whole thing never happened.

“This is despicable,” said Hitoshi Ohashi of TobinOhashi Gallery.

“They have stolen the baby of a wonderful hardworking artist. He has been so generous in sharing his work with everyone and one of the results is that people see his work. I would never expect someone to rip it off.” Hitoshi and his colleague Dr. Robert Tobin want Samsung to make a clear, public announcement about what happened and explain why they somehow missed that the photo had been stolen.

It’s interesting though, isn’t it? A tech company such as Samsung running a camera contest and not, you know, checking the meta data or EXIF data to see where the photo originated.

Very odd, indeed.

Meanwhile, @Bogdhan has been quite vocal about the entire ordeal and has been taking on his detractors on Instagram.

“I suggest you all nicely stop harassing me with such comments and mind your own business,” he wrote on his own IG profile.

“I read the rules before I participate and I’m very aware that it was respected. So stop being some guy kissass’ers in order for him to claim a prize that he doesn;t deserve.”

Most recently he posted a picture of an elderly woman and claimed he had the EXIF data to prove he had really taken the photo and, thanks to the Internet Justice League, (a fictional entity I’ve created for the purpose of this story) his grandson had the free camera taken away from him.

So very, interesting.

Image Credit: Hengki Koentjoro

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