announced a campaign to promote one of their new cameras
, they didn’t realize that they had made a major mistake: they forgot to include women
Nikon invited photographers from Asia, Africa and the Middle East to test out their camera and share their stories on their website
. Out of the 32 photographers
asked to promote the camera, not a single one was female.
Long-time customers — and industry veterans — were quick to notice. Photography and photojournalism are male-dominated industries
, and women frequently find it difficult to find job opportunities. They are also under-represented in awards, front-page placements and industry panels. The exclusion of women
from this campaign was a visual representation of the lack of opportunities for women in photography.
Nikon’s Asia twitter account posted a brief statement
about the lack of women in the campaign:
for sharing your thoughts with us. Appreciate the support from our photography community to see better participation from female photographers as well. Our photographers’ meet [sic] was organized to share our latest innovation with our community — whom we truly value and respect. Unfortunately, the female photographers we had invited for this meet were unable to attend, and we acknowledge that we had not put enough of a focus on this area. We want to thank the community for raising this and challenging us to do more to support the creative talent of our female photographer community. Enabling the creativity of our community sits at the very heart of Nikon and we will continue to keep improving on our innovation and our support for you.”
Many Twitter users, however, saw through Nikon’s apology.
Keeping their responses proactive, many photographers offered resources
and methods for how to find female photographers to spotlight.
One of the most frequently suggested resources? Women Photograph
, a database founded by photojournalist Daniella Zalcman. Launched earlier in 2017, the initiative spotlights more than 500 independent female documentary photographers as well as provides grants, mentorship
programs and more. They invite anyone who is looking for a photographer to reach out to them for free access to the database.
“We’re here. We’re working. We exist,” Daniella Zalcman told The New York Times
. “The problem is the organization not making the adequate effort to include us.”
Though the campaign's damage has already been done, Nikon is working to improve the ways that they work with women. The company’s 2016 annual report
of women’s empowerment” as a high priority issue. As of March 2016, women represented 10.6 percent of Nikon employees and only 4.7 percent of managers. By 2021, Nikon hopes to have 25 percent female employees.
In an emailed statement to The New York Times, Nikon promised to do more (and to do better) moving forward. “We know the conversation happening is an important one,” the company said. “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.”