Archive for September, 2017

Waiting for the purple one

by Sue Dawson

NIKON just came out with a brand-new top-level DSLR, and Alison’s psyched. She uses the D810, which has 36 megapixels. The new D850 has 46 megapixels, which is enough to merit the purchase. But it’s not all about megapixels. It doubles the D810’s maximum ISO, and has a cool screen that tilts so you can view at different angles. Suffice it to say that Alison wants it.

So then this crazy thing happens – the Nikon branch in Asia/Africa did a promotional excursion with 32 top professional photographers, giving them each a D850 to try out. Here’s the photo of the pros, posted on Instagram:


Here they all are again, as headshots:


Notice anything? … I’ll wait… 

They’re all men. ALL 32 of them. And I may be wrong, but is there just one black guy in there? From the African branch of Nikon? 

Photographers and industry analysts are having a field day with this one. Here’s an article in F-Stoppers, and another in Digital Photography Review. I’ve seen it on CNN, and other media too. 

NikonUSA put out an apology on social media. Alison emailed her Nikon rep to complain, and got a very nice apology within minutes. It was a big mistake, and they seem genuinely sorry that it happened. 

I just want to say that Alison has been a professional photographer for over 40 years, has taught workshops all over the world, and has faithfully used Nikon cameras throughout that time. She’s as much of a pro as any other photographer – she’s a photojournalist, artist, gallery owner, teacher, and mentor to many. She was even on the cover of Nikon World back in the day, with a nifty vellum overlay:


Here’s the promo piece for the issue – showing what Alison looked like in 1983 (I discovered her work that same year. We met briefly in 1984, and began working together at the Vineyard Gazette in 1987). 


In addition to working with Alison since 1987, I worked with some of the most talented photojournalists in the world, when I was a designer at The Boston Globe – many of whom are women. Female photographers are just as good, just as professional, just as talented as male photographers. This all goes without saying. And yet, we NEED to keep saying it. And saying it. 

I’ve read a bunch of comments, tweets, and Facebook posts about this. Like the awesome one that says women just need to wait for the pink, sparkly version of the D850. Reminds me of these actual Bic pens “for Her” (click the link to read customer comments, if you have time). The “beautifully smooth,” sparkly, pink and purple pens inspired a great Ellen monologue (worth watching, after the obligatory ad):


Nikon could do a purple and pink D850, that would fit perfectly in ladies’ hands. Hmmm….


Interestingly, I’ve also seen posts by women who think Nikon’s mistake is no big deal, and that people are overreacting. Yeah… no. Complacency isn’t in my genes. Or submission to patriarchal societal norms. I don’t need matriarchal society either. Just equality, and respect. 

Alison still wants the D850. And I think they should give one to her, like they did for those 32 men, and have her represent them. She’d love to. They need people like her, just doing a fantastic job with the equipment. While female. 

What do you think? Post a comment and let me know..

EPILOGUE, 9.23.17
Thanks for all of your support, and great comments!
– As far as I know, there’s only a black D850 – I made the purple one in photoshop 😉
– Just got an email from Amazon Prime, suggesting the Bic pens “for Her” – since I was interested in them…