On Friday I read the article in the New York Times about how Nikon featured 32 pro photographers, all men and 0 women in the release of their new D850 camera. Not cool right? How does a huge company like Nikon launch a new product featuring photographers from Asia, Africa and the Middle East and they can’t come up with a single woman? I’m just one person and I couldn’t get out of my mind that I know at least 32 amazing women photographers. So, I did what I usually do when irritated by something and posted the article on Facebook and commented about how we aren’t living in 1950 and how I’m glad that I shoot with Canon equipment. But then, my friend Amy pointed out that Canon isn’t much better with only 8 out of their 40 brand ambassadors being women. Nikon has 7 women out of their 24 brand ambassadors. Nikon got a lot of backlash for their latest campaign, which turned out in my opinion to be a positive because it begin a conversation that got noticed by some of the biggest media outlets. Nikon even issued an apology, here’s the beginning of it which is the most important part:
“We apologize for this unfortunate circumstance – it is not reflective of the value we place on female photographers and their enormous contributions to the field of photography. We champion all passionate photographers and women are an integral part of this community.”
Words matter. But, so do actions, and actions trump words. Their campaign IS reflective of the value they place on female photographers and it isn’t just a Nikon issue it’s a photography industry issue. Nikon and Canon own the biggest market share in professional DSLR equipment so one would think they should be leading the charge but it does make sense why they aren’t. Nikon has 10.6% of employees being women, 4.7% who are in management. Canon has 15.2% of their employees being women and 2% who are in management. A good portion of these company’s sales is made up of our small businesses buying equipment and I’m sure that to them a dollar is a dollar no matter what gender it comes from. Nikon’s oversight gave us a great opportunity to respond, and keep moving the industry of photography forward for women like those before us have done.
My professional career began in what most would call a “man’s world” as an Industrial Engineer. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go to Purdue University, which I chose because of their focus on supporting women in engineering. I knew what I was getting into and I love challenges and seeing progress. I have my corporate career to thank for teaching me business skills, and many international trips that got me interested in photography in the first place. I’m going on 9 years as a full time photographer and I have two daughters who are 3 years old. Like any parent I want them to dream big and have the opportunity to do what they are passionate about. In order for them to be able to do this, it’s up to our generation to speak up, take action when something isn’t right, and support and encourage each other as women. This is for my daughters, and my friends’ daughters, and all girls who may aspire to have a career in photography someday. In response to Nikon, I wanted to feature the amazing women photographers that I know. I did a call out to my friends and within 36 hours I had 37 women (including me of course:-) who wanted to participate. This is a group of women photographers who are diverse, amazingly talented, entrepreneurs, and business owners who work in all genres of photography. Ladies: keep up the amazing work, don’t apologize for who you are or what you charge because you are worth it and more! Click on their profiles below to see their work.