Many companies within the photography world have stated their support for the Black Lives Matter movement over recent months, only to be faced with awkward questions about how their ambassadors reflect the diversity of their customers. Of the 37 ambassadors now listed on the Nikon website, three are Black, and 15 are women.
Nikon has selected two very accomplished photographers to add to its roster, with both Woulard and Alakija being selected not just for their image-making skills, but also their presence in the world of photography as educators and public speakers. Both have been working with Nikon prior to their appointment.
Woulard is a portrait photographer based in Chicago who specializes in children’s portraiture but has a strong presence in the industry for her teaching programs. She’s also a Profoto Legend of Light. You can find her online at katcteens.com, awteaches.com, on Instagram, and on Facebook.
Alakija is known for his wedding, documentary and editorial photography, with assignments taking him around the world. Some of his work has been included in the Smithsonian Institute Collection and he runs workshops as well as mentoring programs for photography students in West Africa. You can find online portfolios at alakija.com and jidealakija.com, and you can follow him in Instagram here and here.
The process to become a brand ambassador across most manufacturers has never been transparent, and there’s often been an assumption that there is a small circle of professionals and gatekeepers who struggle to look beyond their own bubble of photographers who look the same, mix in the same circles, and have very similar backgrounds — almost like a golf clubhouse, an analogy proposed in this article.
Should brands be doing more to broaden the diversity of their ambassadors to more accurately reflect that of their customers? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.