ZEISS Apologises for Anime Photoshoot Featuring Its New Lens

ZEISS Apologises for Anime Photoshoot Featuring Its New Lens

German lens manufacturer ZEISS has issued an apology to its customers for a recent advert that featured a female model holding one of its recently released lenses.

On June 28, ZEISS tweeted a trio of images showing an anime model dressed as the Disney character Ariel striking affectionate poses with the new ZEISS Otus 100mm f/1.4 lens.

The images stirred up a little resentment online, as many viewers felt the images reinforced gender stereotypes — men deploy expertise to use expensive, sophisticated equipment, while women sit and look pretty — that felt out of place in 2019. “If Ariel chose it, maybe have her use it with a camera rather than make her sit like a prop,” came one suggestion.

Shot at Animefest in Brno, Czech Republic, the image was given a caption and presented in a manner that was judged to be associating itself with outdated gender stereotypes that the camera industry occasionally struggles to shake off. Few would have objected to the model posing for the camera, but to be reduced to a fleshy prop to make a product look attractive was felt by some to be inappropriate. 

ZEISS later issued an apology:

In a field that is largely dominated by men and the male gaze, should manufacturers be more aware of the attitudes of their customers? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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71 Comments

I can understand Zeiss making an apology to appease the left wing SJW crowd, but give me a break people. This is the world we live in now, where a cosplay dressed women holding something in her hand can be taken as offensive? It's becoming a world that is getting harder and harder for someone like me to believe exist. I am a professional photographer that leans to the right and even far right on some issues. I am a Christian and a Green Beret who did three tours in Afghanistan and deployed "elsewhere!" So you can get a glimpse into who I am, but this really floors me, the SJW movement is about as ridiculous as the "fat-pride" movement.

Spy Black's picture

Ignorance is bliss...

Spy Black's picture

...or is that arrogance?...

Sadly any objectification is countered as being a political move to "appease" the "left wing" "SJW crowd" Sadly this is a "glimpse" into who some are in these forums.

"the SJW movement is about as ridiculous as the "fat-pride" movement."

This is not very Christian. I am Christian and when I hear other Christians say stuff like this I feel "It's becoming a world that is getting harder and harder for someone like me to believe exist."

Jonathon Rusnak's picture

People all can't get along. It's ok.

Obviously here comes the liberals and pansies, along with all of their feminists and SJW friends.

Eric Crudup's picture

Yeah, being a feminist or being against the constant objectification of women in photography makes me and pansy despite being 6'5" 260lb dude who powerlifts. I don't even agree that an apology by Zeiss was needed here, but...

1. You seem to have a tiny worldview informed mostly by your own ego and your inability to resist the signalling of your Limbic system.

2. There's a zero percent chance someone like you would say something like that to me in person.

My prediction is that you will respond to this with some half-formed neuron misfire, and I'll be too busy taking actual photos to even notice your existence beyond this short reply. Have fun pretending to be interesting and tough on the internet.

Eric, I would or could do a lot more than say something to you in person. I'm a Green Beret, 18Echo, did 6 tours in Afghanistan and deployed all over the world as part of a Special Forces Direct Action Team. However it would be a waste of both of our times because there wouldn't be a point to it, you would lose, and hit the ground in about a half-second "dude!" You come on here with your I'm a tough a guy, who protects SJW's....LOL. I promise you I'm not scared of you or anything, I've been shot at 1000's of times and wounded multiple times from RPG7 fragmentation's, IED blasts and small arms fire. Your little joke of a threat is laughable to me.

C Fisher's picture

Not everyone who is left wing is insane, just as not everyone who is right wing is an abortion hating redneck. Please don't blanket stereotype, it's 2019.

Never apologise!

Jonathon Rusnak's picture

They buggered up big-time with that apology. They didn't do anything wrong. Thousands of professional photographers make their livings taking photos of beautiful women. Their body their choice. Simple.

Zeiss really needs to know who their customers are, the coffee shop communists so concerned with gramscian identity politics don't usually have the money to buy five grand lenses.

For the meme culture summary
Get woke, go broke

I would be willing to bet that most of the outraged folk aren't even photographers, this is probably just brigading.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

The only thing they should be apologizing for is for those bland photos.

Rob Mitchell's picture

Announcing your are offended is telling the world you have no control over your own emotions so need others to do it for you.

Will Murray's picture

Maybe Zeiss were worried that people who have time to be offended at imagined trivial offences will stop buying their overpriced lenses. I would have have thought truly successful people have better things to concern themselves with.

Crystal Johnson's picture

I wonder if they just hired some random model and told her to dress like Ariel, because of the recent casting for The Little Mermaid, and she chose that godawful outfit just to sort of fit in with the con crowd. I also wonder why they went to a con when the vast majority of people going are younger, and more liberal, to advertise their expensive lenses.

Of course companies should be cognizant of their clientele, or future ones that may invest in their brand. These are hot button issues, and what once was a 'great' model of marketing some decades ago, is not so great now in this current political climate. Female photographers have to fight tooth and nail just to get out of the 'momtographer' trope.

You’ll be surprised, but male photographers have to fight tooth and nail just to get out of the “guy with a camera” trope.

Crystal Johnson's picture

That's debatable. Are you shooting female models in the nude in raunchy poses? Are you hitting on female models when you work with them? It's easy for a mlae to get over the GWC trope than a female photographer due to how a lot of our male counterparts see us. Even on here you see the commentary about female photographers being 'momtographers' or that we are somehow setting the bar low.

marc gabor's picture

the fstoppers community is hardly indicative of the industry at large.

I just have to say something.. At least something. I just see how noone know the context of the photo. And don't even read the description.. This is random photo from event called Animefest in Brno, Czech republic. This photo was not taken as any ad or anything. Was just posted as funny reminder. Noone was hired or anything like that.. Just girl in Ariel cosplay took that lens in her hands and was amazed. Took documentary photo. if you want to see real photos from that event you can for example here https://bit.ly/30jj3J9

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

"If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck."

At the end of the day, they used the images to promote their product. Smells like an ad to me. And, so does to whole lot of people.

Seems like look we was on event and this happened post to me. And so does to whole lot of people.

Crystal Johnson's picture

Lol I read the description, and looked up on Zeiss' twitter to see the rest. That aside, yes this looks like an ad. Companies support events, in turn they are advertising their product even if it's not so blatant to the masses. If she was at the con trying to cosplay she did a shite job at it. A green skirt and a shelled top does not a mermaid make. Thus the assumption she's just a hired hand for the event by Zeiss.

marc gabor's picture

Here in LA I don't see women getting any less work than men. It's about 50/50 and from personal experience the majority of the shoots I assist on are with female photographers. If you are having to fight tooth and nail to get out of "momtographer" or "guy with a camera" trope then it's simply because your portfolio or work experience aren't good enough to be taken seriously.

Crystal Johnson's picture

Lol because of your male personal experience shooting under female photographers it must mean you're right?Not me, the woman that has been published, has done a lot of commercial work, and has a solid portfolio.. I must be bad? Meh. You don't understand, really you truly do not. Perhaps instead of mansplaning on something you have no clue about, you should take a look at people like Jill Greenberg that has created an agency for female only photographers because of the lack of support for women in this industry. Maybe ask those female photographers if they've felt slighted by their male counterparts, and I imagine a good lot of them will say so. Men dominate this industry, so your 50/50 is not so equal.

marc gabor's picture

Crystal, I'm simply relaying my own personal experience and I'm not implying your work is bad. There are plenty of great photographers who struggle to get work. I also don't doubt that women face hardships in the photography industry. I also don't doubt that it's different depending on what type of photography (sports photography vs fashion for example) you do and what city you live in.

Also, I think we can all agree that photography is a hard industry no matter what your gender is. There are plenty of older male (and female) photographers who have lots of professional experience working with big clients who struggle to get work today. It's not because they are men it's because they have struggled to stay relevant to the people hiring or because the clients that used to hire them no longer exist (most print magazines).

Finally, in the world of commercial fashion/lifestyle photography think about who is hiring – photography editors, creative directors, fashion brand owners – at least in progressive hub cities like Los Angeles, NYC, London the people who occupy these positions don't give a F if they're hiring a man or a woman, they're just looking to hire the best team to get the job done.

I'm sorry you feel like you've faced discrimination (although it sounds like you're getting work) based on your gender but again IN MY EXPERIENCE, the jobs I work on, the producers, creative directors, art directors, brand managers, small business owners, etc... are by no means overwhelmingly male.

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