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Sausage Fest? Canon PH Draws Flak for All-Male Ambassadors

What are 'lady shooters' even?
by Ara Eugenio
Jul 21, 2021
Photo/s: Shutterstock

Canon, arguably the world's leading camera maker, drew flak throughout the week after it unveiled its list of brand ambassadors in the Philippines that excluded women and non-binary Filipino photographers. 

As early as Sunday, social media was rife with criticisms of Canon as photography industry leaders and even celebrities pointed out the lack of diversity in the list, which is said to reinforce an archaic problem within the community. 

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A "sausage fest", was how award-winning photojournalist Ezra Acayan called it as he demanded that the camera brand take responsiblity for snubbing the many talented non-male photographers in the Philippines. 

"How is it that no one at Canon PH looked at this list, and decided that there was absolutely nothing wrong with it? What is the message here? That photography is only for men?," Acayan said in his post that got over a thousand likes and over 200 shares as of writing.

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Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach weighed in come Tuesday, commenting under Canon's Instagram post.

“No hate to the chosen ambassadors but why is there no room for inclusivity? How were the ambassadors chosen? Based on what? Not hating on the ambassadors but the marketing team should fix this asap,” she said.

'Lady Shooters'?

In what appears to be an attempt for damage-control, representatives from Canon were said to have reached out to its community of women photographers for another ambassadorship program that would complement the all-male list.

The brand said it would call the new roster as "Canon Professional Lady Shooters", which again drew flak. Screenshots of the said invite mentioned there would be "no monetary deal", but said it is laying out "plans" of compensation through online workshops (which ironically will be taught by male photographers, Japanese photographer Caillin Hill Araki pointed out).

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Landscape and nature photographer Edwin Martinez, who is among this year’s ambassadors, defended Canon on Instagram, blasting "certain types of people" for what he said was an unfounded "clamor for attention".

“And these ‘younger demographics’ clamor for attention and yet they have not proven themselves in this craft, but they become the judges and jurors,” he said.

Qualifying himself as "experienced", Martinez said those whose color grading and presets had "tacky composition" were the outspoken ones, while "those with real talent remains meek".


'Tired of asking for equal space'

With 30 years of experience under her belt, award-winning photojournalist Joan Bondoc took to Facebook her frustrations against Canon, sharing how she fought for her place in the male-dominated industry. 

"Halos tatlong dekada na ang nakaraan  naglakas loob akong pumasok sa dyaryo bilang isang news photographer. At tinanong ako kung ano ang ginagawa ko sa mundo ng kalalakihan," she said, noting she took on the challenge on top of other systemic issues the field of journalism was grappling with. 

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"At kahit ang buwanang period hinde ininda, di pinahalatang masakit ang puson, o may susong dapat ingatan , hinde. Ang nasa isip lang ay ang litratong dapat malikha," Bondoc said, adding that for women photographers, their works are enough to speak for their capabilities. 

She ended her lengthy post apologizing for having to censor Canon's name from the photo of herself that she posted, denouncing the camera brand she preferred to use in her decades in the industry.

"Tired of asking for equal space to exist in the local industry", National Geographic photographer Hannah Reyes Morales opted to share a list of Filipina and non-binary photographers she knew, hoping the issue would do more than just blasting Canon. 

Her list featured photographers Eloisa Lopez, Pau Villanueva, Cenon and Mav, Wawi Navarroza, Sara Erasmo, Xyza Bacani, Lisa David, Kimi dela Cruz, Regine David, and Dennese Victoria.

In a statement posted 1 a.m. of Wednesday, Canon said it appreciates "learning from voices in the community", promising it took note of the criticisms to "improve and grow better".

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