I am a photographer. I happen to also be female. I have been shooting on Nikon equipment for over a decade.
Recently, Nikon announced a new D850 camera, which seems perfectly suited to the long days and constantly shifting environments I find myself in as a photographer. It has been a while since Nikon announced a new professional camera that got this much buzz and the timing is great – in the past few years, competitors like Sony and Fuji have been releasing game-changing mirrorless options.
To test and promote its new camera, Nikon selected 32 photographers from a vast geographic area (all of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia) and a variety of genres.
All of them were men.
32 of 32 photographers were men.
When confronted about the terrible optics and statistical improbability of having no women in a field of 32 photographers, Nikon responded that “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.” Nikon has not released the names or the quantity of female photographers that they invited.
OK, so, again, that just seems a statistical near impossibility to randomly have a group of 32 people and have no women. And so I have to assume that it is not random.
So I’d like to take an evidence based approach to how Nikon, as a company, has viewed their customers who happen to be female.
First off, I’d like to do away with the concept that more photographers are men, or that men buy more cameras and thus marketing towards males only makes sense.
- Data from the Boston Globe showing 2016 professions and the percentage of women and men in each. Showing 47.7% of photographers are women.
- A 2007 PMA US Digital Imaging Survey showed that 51% of DSLR users are female.
Nikon does have an ambassador program – showcasing the “top visual storytellers of this era” Ambassadors must be asked to join (so this isn’t a case of men being more likely to ask). Here is the breakdown by region:
- Nikon US Ambassadors – 24 total, 7 women.
- Nikon Europe Ambassadors – 4 total, none are women
- Nikon UK Ambassadors – 13 total, 4 women
- Nikon Australia Ambassadors – 7 total, none are women
- Nikon Canada Ambassadors – 6 total, 1 woman
Of the 27 people followed by Nikon’s USA Instagram account, fewer than 7 of them are women.
In July of this year, for an interview with Nikon’s president Kazuo Ushida in the newspaper Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, he said “For example it might be an idea to look into making a dSLR that women would find easier to use.”
Any one of these things might just seem like a blip. Maybe all women in Australia shoot Fuji for some reason, maybe male photographers are more aggressive about being featured on Instagram, etc. But taken as a whole, I can’t help but look at the data and see that I, as a photographer, am not respected or valued. In over 10 years of being a professional shooter, I’ve purchased a dozen cameras, more lenses and accessories, and run a business based on my Nikon equipment. I’m a member of their Nikon Professional Services (NPS).
So, I’m sure Nikon is going to do a PR sweep – to make more statements about valuing women and trying to support them in a male dominated industry.
And I don’t want to hear it.
What I want is for Nikon to follow more women on their Instagram.
I want Nikon to support women in their ambassador program here in the US, U.K., and Europe where it is SO EASY TO DO SO and then start raising the bar in their Middle East and Africa spaces (where there are no women represented)
I don’t want any more discussion about cameras being too difficult for women to understand.
I want the term “photographer” to mean “photographer of any gender”.
I want an apology and then I want to see action.