One Person at a Time
Let me start out by mentioning what this post isn't. It isn't a post bashing on Nikon, Canon, the industry, the craft, or any one person or any one camera.
It's not a post bashing on a group of people who may or may not be associated with any of those things.
It's just me, stating some observations I've made over the past week or so.
I've seen an industry-wide conversation begin about the role of women in photography, and what companies should or shouldn't do to support those women.
I think this conversation is of vital importance, and I am glad we are talking about it.
But - I've read many, many comments. Heard many, many sides. Seen many people behaving with respect and positivity, some behaving with smugness and superiority, and others behaving in the very worst of ways.
Am I upset by the Nikon image? Of course. Seriously, such a bad move.
Am I upset with Nikon in general? No.
Do I think Canon is "doing it right"? Nope. I think they are propagating the same problems in their own way.
Am I switching companies? No.
Do I think you are wrong for wanting to switch companies? Of course not. I also don't think you are wrong for wanting to stay wherever you are.
This past week I have seen people bash each other, choose to not support each other, question each other's intentions, act smug over their situation verses someone else's, and generally tear each other down. I've seen friendships falter, relationships damaged, and a lot of anger directed at the very people we are supposed to be the most supportive of: each other.
I wish I could say that all of that was a direct result of the Nikon image. But it wasn't. In most cases, the things that made me the most upset had nothing to do with that image. It had to do with the people in the trenches, working hard to further their craft or build their business. The little guys. Just like me.
I've seen a lovely person with a giant heart feel like she can no longer speak her truth on her own platform because of comments made to her when she did so.
Of everything I've seen happen this week in the industry - both globally and on my own micro-scale - it's not the actions of one company that makes me the most upset. It's the actions of individuals, one comment at a time.
I respect you. I respect your right to create the art you want to create, to choose the gear you feel most comfortable with, and to say the things you have on your heart.
But I can't respect something that hurts another person. Period.
Let's all think before we type. There are real people on the end of every comment - both doing the typing, and doing the reading. Emotions are high, we're on edge, and we want to be HEARD. I understand that.
I want to be heard, too. But I don't want that happen at another's expense.
I am a photographer. Period. I can list out all my accomplishments, but that isn't what matters. And in fact I don't want to list them out because I do not think I deserve more respect from the industry because of those accomplishments. I deserve respect from the industry because I have a camera, I am continually taking steps to learn how to create better photographs, and I love the craft. I am no better than anyone else, and no one else is any better than me.
I deserve respect from the industry because I am the reason it exists. YOU are the reason it exists. And because of the thousands and thousands of others out there who are just like us.
I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER.
I am a photographer because I define myself as one. I do not need anyone else to do it for me.
That is what matters.
I will continue helping everyone I can and learning from everyone I can. I will hold space for other photographers, encourage them, give them the benefit of the doubt, and be on their side. A company may not need me to do that for them - they may or may not care about me. They certainly don't know who I am from any one else.
But a person does.
And that's how I can help change the industry. One person at a time.