Sunday, September 22, 2013

UP student Mark Joseph Solis a "Serial" Photo Grabber

A winning photo of a smiling boy that recently won a contest sponsored by the Chilean ambassador Roberto Mayorga has become the subject of controversy on the internet on Sunday after the real owner of the picture claimed it was his.

The photo "smiling boy gathering seaweed in Zamboanga City" won in the "Smiles for the World photo contest" by Chilean Ambassador Roberto Mayorga. The photo was already taken down from the site.

Mark Joseph Solis the contest winner and the allegged fraudster is a 22-year-old student of the University of the Philippines and he call himself an "amateur" photographer, has been selected the winner against 30 pre-qualified contestants selected from about 500 entries from around the country in the 2nd Calidad Humana National Essay Photography Competition hosted by the Chilean embassy on the occasion of Chile’s 203rd year of independence.

UP student Mark Joseph Solis, Serial Photo Grabber, Mark Joseph Solis

Solis won $1,000 and a round-trip ticket to Brazil and Chile with accommodations for the photo.

In Solis article about the photo, the boy is a victim of Typhoon Lawin, his house was badly damaged. "The Filipino spirit is waterproof. I thought about several values that we have: social resiliency, guarded optimism, people feeling happy. Filipinos, even if things get bad, even if we are poor, as long as we are happy, we are OK. That’s Filipino culture. It’s something that’s woven into the socio-cultural fabric of the nation."

Gregory John Smith last Saturday complained on his Facebook page that he is the owner of the winning photo. Gregory , according to his Facebook page, is a social entrepreneur at Children At Risk Foundation in Brazil.

"WOW! There is really no limit to people's abuse of others in this world. This is one of my photographs that just won first prize in a contest that I never entered. Well, I could certainly make good use of that prize money and the travel prize too, as I plan a trip to the Phipippines at the beginning of next year with two of my Jovens Guerreiros - Young Warriors Brazil to visit Young warriors programme in the Philippines. I wonder what their Jury will say now?" Gregory posted on his wall.

Here is the original photo that is listed on the Children At Risk Foundation Flickr account with the title “Or maybe Neptune’s son with Amphitrite, Triton?”

It was also found out that Solis submitted the same photo for another contest "Water and Life: 2013 ICIMOD Digital Photo Contest" with a different description "This kid helps his father harvest seaweed in Ramanathapuram district, India."

Back in 2011, Solis also won a contest "SAY PEACE Photo Contest" by Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process with another stolen photo.

The original photo was taken from here:

Solis has apologized to Gregory John Smith saying: "I was driven by my youth, lack of experience, and the inability to see the repercussions of my actions. The sheer amount of the prize, the stiff competition, and the unique opportunity to be abroad blinded me from undertaking what is supposed to be an honest and a rightful conduct. It was a regrettable lapse on my judgment, and no words can express how sorry I am for taking your photo as mine." But he did it multiple times, his intention is fraud and not simply lack of experience. He should face the law for his actions.

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