The multinational company Nikon has recently been gaining attention for the promotion of its new camera, but for all the wrong reasons. In its latest campaign to spread the word about its new product, Nikon hired 32 photographers from all around the world to embark on a creative project using the camera as their main tool of expression. All 32 of these photographers were men.
This is more than just a mere oversight, as the company seems to be claiming. As Nikon is well aware, women are incredibly underrepresented in photojournalism and photography fields in general. In a brief a statement on Twitter, Nikon Asia wrote a very vague message about not getting enough female participation from the applicants they considered for the project. They also wrote that the female photographers they invited were “unable to attend.”
So, are we to assume that all the female photographers around the world just happened to be busy that week? This seems awfully convenient, but even if we’re running with this convoluted excuse, you’re telling me that they couldn’t find one available female photographer with 32 open slots to fill? As many have been quick to point out to Nikon, it is the company’s responsibility, in the end, to ensure that women are represented fairly.
Nikon also released a statement saying, “This unfortunate circumstance is not reflective of the value we place on female photographers and their enormous contributions to the field of photography.” Despite these claims, this “unfortunate circumstance” is exactly reflective of how women are perceived in many industries, photography included. How can Nikon expect people to believe one thing while unapologetically showing them the opposite?
Defending their position, they wrote that the all-male initiative was one of the many ways the company was going about selling its new camera and that women were involved in other, equally important projects like becoming brand ambassadors. Nikon continued, “We know the conversation happening is an important one. We appreciate the need to continue to improve the representation of women, and recognize our responsibility to support the immense creative talent of female photographers.”
According to a company report made in March of 2016, women make up 10.6 percent of Nikon employees and 4.7 percent of managers. By 2021, the company hopes to increase that number to 25 percent.
Unsurprisingly, Nikon received considerable backlash online, with many Twitter users commenting on the promotion’s blatant lack of diversity. Among the outspoken was Daniella Zalcman, a London-based photojournalist. She commented, “We’re here. We’re working. We exist.” Earlier this year, Zalcman created a database of female photographers, and is passionate about promoting equality within her work environment. She continued, “The problem is the organization not making the adequate effort to include us.” It seems to us that women shouldn’t have to go out of their way to prove that they exist.
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