Thirty three and a half years as one of the most successful models on the planet and Naomi Campbell has only just completed a mainstream fashion shoot with a black photographer for the first time.
Few names come to mind quicker than Naomi Campbell's when you think of supermodels. Both Campbell and Kate Moss have been titans in the industry for decades and remain relevant and important today. With such an expansive career, you can't imagine there's much Campbell hasn't seen in the fashion world, least of all a shoot with a black photographer. However, Campbell's recent shoot for British publication The Guardian in their "Weekend" magazine was just that, teaming up with photographer Campbell Addy.
Campbell writes "It’s my first time in thirty three and a half years, shooting with a black photographer in mainstream fashion." I had to double take reading that the first time. I'm aware of imbalances in professional photography and here on Fstoppers it has been discussed many times, but I don't think I quite appreciate the disparity in representation of different ethnicities. Fashion as an industry has been called out on this regularly this century, with a lack of diversity in almost all facets of the profession. I just hadn't considered how prevalent that imbalance might be in photography too. Upon sharing the image, Addy wrote:
It’s a very surreal moment after the longest flight of my life and to see this be shared with you all. Firstly to have shot the icon that’s Ms Naomi and two for her to reveal that it’s the first time in over THREE decades that she’s been photographed by another black person in mainstrean[sic] fashion... let that sink in people... I am very blessed to be alive and working today, so thank you to everyone that’s made my existence possible. Here’s to many more shoots together
Is the lack of diversity in photography something you have noticed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Lead image by Christopher Macsurak via Wikimedia used under Creative Commons.
"Privilidged white male" is a factual statement as opposed to a moral statement.
Do try to keep up, darling.
Actually it’s not, there’s nothing factual about your meaning of privilege. Privilege is earned wether by someone else or oneself despite what everyone will tell you. My dad worked his ass off to give us things, I work my ass off to give my family things, had I expected my “privilege” to provide for me I’d be living on the streets.
I will agree that there are very biased judgmental people that hold roles of power. As the generation of acceptance gets older you’ll start to see a shift with all of this. At the end of the day the majority of us all just want to get along, right?
My meaning of privilege.
That right there is funny shit.
"I cannot express just how much I value the strongly held views of privileged white men"
I believe the words you're searching for are "vanishingly little". Unless my sarcasm detector is on the fritz.
The lack of diversity in the commercial level of photography is noticeable when you're the demographic that is affected. I am a sole believer that your skill, knowledge, and portfolio should speak for itself rather than your outward appearance. That isn't the issue, but if Naomi Campbell is saying that she's never worked with a photographer from her demographic in over 30 years! To me that is alarming and shows that we have a long and arduous road ahead of us to enter the professional field as photographers.
"Why? You cant force certain genders or races into a creative industry if they don't like it or want to do it". - Travis Pinney
You're right you can't but who says that the majority of us aren't interested, who says we don't like it? Who made you the talking head for us? You ever consider the fact that there are barriers that prevent us from reaching positions we would love to do such as Creative Direct campaigns.
I know several women photographers that outshine their male counterparts but aren't given an opportunity to thrive, so I'm not shocked by this admission by Ms. Campbell when I've seen and encountered it on a daily basis in my community with other skilled creatives.The privilege in this comment section is appalling. Things will change for the better because if the industry prevents you from occupying the same space, we'll circumvent it and create our own lanes and succeed no matter what pitfalls this racist nation places before us. Believe that!
Least racist of nations? You must not live in America or you're an ignorant internet troll. The University of Syracuse has had literally 11 incidents stemming from racism since November 6th of this month. These incidents are publicized and it's in happening in a progressive state such as New York, now imagine the ones that aren't being publicly disclosed.
I've visited many countries, don't talk like you live or know my experience. Eyes can be easily deceived, go educate yourself on your ancestors brutal history since you're in denial that your lot are mass-murdering terrorists and have genocidal tendencies my friend.
Jesus H Christ; the US is "among the least racist of nations"...
Congratulations, you're a moron.
Yes Will, we're so racist here that there's an army of dummies just like you spouting the very same nonsense.
Again, no rebuttal.
Considering all you seem to want to do is whinge about the USA and politics, you seem to be the moron.
Wait, you have just made a sweeping generalisation as to my actions despite easily available evidence rebutting your conjecture; and I'm the idiot.
"We're among the least racist of nations."
And yet, Charlottesville...
The thing about bubbles is they don't let any air in.
I guess by "racist nation" you mean one in which everybody is racist. What I mean by it is one in which racism has endured and significantly impacted the ordinary lives of millions of minorities and where this continues to this day.
People who happen to be fat, ugly, deformed, etc., are not often shot and killed by police while running away from a traffic ticket or strangled by them for selling loose cigarettes on the street. There also are no terrifying public nazi rallies or underground armed militias threatening and indulging violence against them.
In any case, the issue at hand is not, in my view, about overt racism. It does raise the question, though, whether opportunities are equally available and what factors may contribute to highly disproportionate outcomes.
I'm speaking merely from numbers. OBVIOUSLY there are other issues at play, OBVIOUSLY there are still people in power that discriminate. Do I think it's bullshit? Absolutely. Like I said before, 1 in 9 people is black, that spread exponentially increases when you throw lifestyle and career choice in the mix.
Are there industries that need an internal change? Yes, but those industries (especially creative) also tend to house some of the most "progressive" people in them at the top, so tell me why this is such an issue then?
Take photography as a whole, how many sub-genres are there? As you start to split up into the different specialties, because lets face it someone of that level is a specialist, your talent pool begins to shrink. As that talent pool shrinks, the percentage of certain demographics begins to shift rapidly, it then becomes increasingly difficult for someone outside of the majority group to get selected just based on exposure alone.
I'm not saying it's easy, where I live there are more Hispanic and Asian automotive photographers, I look like the outsider, but it is what it is, I continue to push myself and learn to try and develop ways to stand out.
If you're a black male and photography is your passion then you should be doing anything you can to make sure you put yourself on the right path, nobody is going to hold your hand. People will be mean to you, and tell you no, and talk shit to you. If they can't see you for who you are and how talented you are then fuck them and move on to the next venture. Me being white has not prevented me from having guns pulled on me and people insulting me and looking down on me I'll tell you that much.
Morgan Freeman FTW
I have a question: what do they mean by “mainstream”? Naomi was on the cover of last years Essence magazine’s September issue shot by Jamel Shabazz. Does this not count?