September 2011

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How to insult a large portion of your customer base:

The following quote from the Nikon Official Facebook Fan Page (which was posted by Nikon, or more accurately, someone who works for Nikon) prompted a slew of  comments, yet at the time of reading about this an amazing 1,455 people  “liked” the comment. (I’m guessing those who liked the post were not pros.)

“A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses, and a good lens is essential to taking good pictures! Do any of our facebook fans use any of the NIKKOR lenses? Which is your favorite and what types of situations do you use it for?”

That first sentence is a problem. Evidently Nikon is unaware that women are photographers too. I’d bet that Julia Margaret Cameron, Anne Brigman, Lotte Jacobi, Berenice Abbott, Tina Modotti, Margaret Bourke-White, Imogen Cunningham, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Dorothea Lange, Ruth Bernhard, Diane Arbus, Lisette Model, Inge Morath, Ruth Orkin, Lee Miller, Nan Goldin, Annie Leibovitz, Eve Arnold, Lillian Bassman, Joyce Tenneson, Lauren Greenfield, Lynn Goldsmith, Carol Guzy, Carolyn Cole, Cindy Sherman, Sandy Skoglund, Susan Meiselas, Mary Ellen Mark, Sally Mann and many, many more would be surprised to learn that according to Nikon they didn’t or don’t exist. Especially since some of them practice their craft with a Nikon.

I’d also bet that professional photographers, male or female, would be surprised to learn that skill and knowledge is not integral to being a professional photographer. All that matters is the equipment.

Realizing that the wording of their post constituted a giant faux-pas, Nikon later posted the following statement:

“We know some of you took offense to the last post and we apologize, as it was not our aim to insult any of our friends. Our statement was meant to be interpreted that the right equipment can help you capture amazing images. We appreciate the passion you have for photography and your gear, and know that a great picture is possible anytime and anywhere.”

There’s that equipment thing again.

This brings to mind one of my favorite quotes from the great Robert Doisneau…”If I knew how to take a good photograph, I’d do it every time.”

ATTN: Nikon – it takes more than equipment.

Photo: "Atlantic City, Four Women," circa 1960s by John W. Mosley.

Works from more than 40 photographers and artists are represented in “Posing Beauty in African American Culture” at USC’s Fisher Museum of Art. The exhibition features more than 80 pieces, most being black and white photographs and is curated by Deborah Willis, a NYU professor and chair of the school’s photography and imaging department.

A panel discussion with Willis as moderater “Posing Beauty Posing Questions” is scheduled for October 4th at 5 PM in the Grand Ballroom, Ronald Tutor Campus Center at USC.

For more info visit here.