If you follow just about any major news outlet, you’re bound to have seen the photos of “Fukushima Kid.” We published them ourselves. But today the photographer behind those shots, Keow Wee Loong, is on the defensive as another photographer accuses him of lying about the photos in search of fame.
The dispute began very early this morning when Polish photographer Arkadiusz Podniesiński—himself a frequent visitor to the Fukushima area after the nuclear disaster of 2011—published a post accusing Loong of lying about his photos.
“[His] story is almost completely fabricated” writes Podniesiński. “… his entire text is dishonest, his trip to the no-go zones untrue and the photographs were taken in areas that everyone can access.”
Podniesiński posted this image alongside his accusations, claiming that most of Loong’s photos were taken in the easily and legally accessible Green Zone, and none were actually captured in the restricted Red Zone.
When we reached out to Loong regarding the accusations in Podniesiński’s article, however, we heard a very different story. He had already posted a long and thorough defense to his Facebook page, but Loong reiterated the high points to us.
“Podniesiński colour[d] the red zone into white [on his map], and has been spreading it ever since,” Loong told us. “It is not white as I told countless press, I walked from Tamioka to Namie across 4 towns.” He posted this picture alongside his defense:
Loong claimed Podniesiński texted him to ask where all the locations he photographed were. “He said that he was uncertain where all photos were taken, and I told him,” Loong explained to us. “The next day he came out with this article.”
For his part, Loong is sticking by his story. He’s spent today defending himself to TIME, CNN, us, and countless other publications, all of which got in touch with him after reading Podniesiński’s article.
“I have a duty to defend myself,” Loong says. “Even though I went in without a permit, that does not mean someone with a valid permit is right.” To read the full accusation article here and Loong’s full response on Facebook.
Image credits: All images and screenshots used with express permission from Arkadiusz Podniesiński and Keow Wee Loong.