Filipino photographers criticize electronics brand due to its all-male ambassador lineup

Canon Philippines has released a statement about the issue but it looks like people aren't happy about it

(Photo from Unsplash)

Canon Philippines, best known for its cameras, is under fire after releasing a campaign featuring an all-male ambassador lineup, dubbed "Crusader of Light" brand ambassador program. Netizens and other Filipino photographers criticize the brand for its lack of inclusivity, as its roster didn't include female or LGBTQ+ photographers.

Among the first to call out the campaign is award-winning photojournalist Ezra Acayan, who even called it a "sausage fest."

"I'm also very disappointed at one of the photographers on this list who reacted by saying women photographers should 'prove themselves.' What a disaster," Ezra posted on Facebook.

On July 21, 2021, Canon Philippines released a statement addressing the issue saying that it "supports camera enthusiasts and content creators regardless of gender, culture, customs, language, or race."

"We appreciate learning from your voices in the community. We are listening," it continues. "Our activities have just kick started and based on your valuable feedback, we will enhance your experience with us."

While the public finally got the response they are looking for, many aren't pleased with the statement for its lack of accountability.

"So it took four days to come up with this? No apology? No accountability? Posted at 1:30 am? Judging from this statement, you still don't understand the issue," fashion photographer BJ Pascual posted on his Instagram stories.

Jilson Tiu, one of the listed ambassadors, breaks his silence on social media saying that he is dropping his ambassadorship with the brand.

"It's been a long time coming (three years) and this is the tipping point," Jilson posted. "I love Canon cameras. So far, it’s been my partner for a decade of my photography career. What I don’t like is that they didn’t apologize for the mistake that they’ve done. They should make up for it and apologize publicly. Thank you Canon for the three years, I will continue to use your camera as a tool, but I don’t want to be an ambassador to a brand that doesn’t align with my principles."

Aiming to shed some light to what female photographers go through in the industry is Hannah Reyes Morales, a National Geographic grantee.

"What you felt, seeing their all-male ambassadors lineup, their response of rushing female photographers to submit their profile photo (and not their work) for consideration after people got angry, their non apology and their adamant response for women photographers, this is a constant, consistent reality, and one that is lived," she posted on Facebook. "While this debacle dies down, they will move on. Men will continue to profit from this kind of misogyny so embedded in our industry. On top of work, women photographers will continue to do the exhausting heavy lifting of trying to change things that are so clearly wrong. If this is how they want their table to look like, they don't deserve us there."