Photographer, You Are So Cheap
First, I want congrats myself because the ‘pirated copy’ of one my picture was valued at S$ 6,000.00. Hence, I think the original copy could worth tens of thousands.
That was a happy morning on the 5th of November 2015, I was browsing Yahoo News and this title caught my attention – Singapore to hold first large-scale wildlife art exhibition. I click in and view on those very beautiful animal art works, and shockingly I saw my picture there, what the…..by 2nd looks, it was not picture but was a pencil artwork. (See this for reference https://sg.news.yahoo.com/photos/singapore-to-hold-first-large-scale-wildlife-art-exhibition-1446693973-slideshow/tiger-by-yingying-cai-photo-1446693435814.html)
The Artist named Ying Cai (or Cai Ying), exhibition organizer was Mandala WildLife Arts, and Ying Cai is also the co-founder of Mandala.
The same news on the exhibition was also appeared in Straits Time and Lian He Zhao Bao, UFM 1003 and Kiss92 FM.
I went to the exhibition to check ‘my work’ personally but their staff said that it was not exhibit openly, it was reserved for auction and only can be view by invitation. I also met the organizer person in-charge – Rayan from Mandala.
I text Rayan a few times pretending I am a potential artwork and lastly I managed to view my white tiger artwork in their gallery. OMY, the artwork was 100% duplicate on my picture, shade and shadow, fur patterns and even the position of the hair on its face are similar to my picture. (And she called herself an artist?)
I told the gallery staff I need to speak to Ying Cai, and left my telephone number. No new after a few days, and I start to text Rayan again, ask him a few time about the originally of the White tiger artwork, he avoid my question. I also get help from someone to use her fb messenger to communicate with Ying Cai (if I contact her with my fb, she will see my original picture there). Pretending an interested buyer and again ask her the originally of the tiger, no answer was given as well.
By end of December 2016, I finally told Rayan who am I. Then, no apology but some sweet talks : oh I do not know it was you, if I knew I will buy the picture’s right from you…..you are so a talented photographer….. you animal shots and landscape shots are fantastic….I think we can work together….bla bal bla….
He wanted to see me and I went up to his office, we had some nice chats, but what he did not 100% honest to me (please, I did my homework before I went to see him). He offered me S$500 for ‘pirated’ my picture, I did not agreed and demand S$1,000 but got rejected. I’m not a greedy person but I had my pride as a photographer. The white tiger artwork had a list price of S$6,000 and it is for auction, yet, some ‘limited copies’ will be printed for sell, that’s mean it could be sell a lot more money. Some of my friend told me to demand half of the selling price from Ying Cai and Mandala.
We agreed to talk again after CNY, both of us were busy between the end of Dec 2105 to CNY 2016.
After many months, I received no news from Rayan, I texts him but he ignored me. Many of the information of the White tiger artwork were removed from Mandala fb page; Ying Cai’s fb is no longer in use (not sure is her fb id changed?). Initially, I have no intension to disclose the artist’s name, she is so young and I do not want to ruin his reputation, but sometime people just do not see your kindness.
Since both of them are avoiding me (I assumed), so I make it open to the public.
You could think that this is just a ‘one side story’, if happen any of you are their friend, please tell them to speak out here.
I believe many of my fb friends (there are mostly photographer or photography lovers) having at least once, their hard work being stolen and keep quite or can’t do anything.
Please support me and share this post if you can. A lesson must be taught to the photograph thieves.