Nikon is coming under fire for an all-male photography PR campaign
Nikon's D850 camera is a monster. Its rollout has excited the entire photography world, and the company has put out a PR campaign featuring 32 professional photographers using the camera and giving it a try before the rest of the world. What could go wrong? Well, the company released a photograph of all 32 members of this Nikon fellowship, and not a single one of them was a woman.
The debate over gender bias has exploded since 2014, and especially now that Donald Trump is President, companies are being heavily pressured to put diversity first. Women and people of color in all sectors of life are sought after for their come-ups, as a formerly white male world moves more and more toward gender equality.
Now, more women are going to college than men, and in their early 20s, they even out-earn their male counterparts. So how is it, then, that in the field of photography, out of 32 available seats, no woman was found to appear? I can't believe that if you put the 32 best photographers in the world in a room together, zero of them would be female.
It's a curious thing, and the internet, always sensitive to gender imbalance, leapt into action.
Nikon says that they reached out to many female photographers, but either none were interested or none were able to attend. Is this believable? Maybe. But out of 32 slots, it seems statistically certain that at least a handful of women would be present. How is it possible that literally none made the cut? If you put 32 writers, or 32 filmmakers, or 32 illustrators, or 32 singers in a room, at complete random or organized by merit, you'd definitely get some women.
NikonUSA put out an apology note on their official Twitter account, ensuring their audience that women play an integral role in Nikon. Any company undergoing controversy online is pretty much obligated to say something at this point.
The text of the apology is as follows:
"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. There are talented women serving as members of the Nikon USA Ambassador program that play a pivotal role in representing the Nikon brand.
"We know the conversation happening is an important one. We appreciate the need to continue to improve the representation of women in this field, and recognize our responsibility to support the immense creative talent of female photographers."
Still, it seems unlikely that this was satisfy anyone. The apology is vague and does address precisely why this campaign had only male photographers. What do you think? Did Nikon just pick some great photographers without paying attention to gender, or did they openly discriminate against women?
You be the judge. Hopefully in the future, diversity comes more naturally to Nikon. After all, there is no shortage of women photographers out there doing top-notch work.