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Czech Republic, the image was given a caption and presented in a manner that was judged to be associating itself with outdated gender stereotypes that the camera industry occasionally struggles to shake off.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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73 Comments

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Tony Politi's picture

Of all of the photographers I know all but one are women. All of the women photographers I know are the professionals making money.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

I recently found out that one lady in Alaska (don’t remember the name of the place) created a firm only for crab fisherwomen. Also a similar company was founded a few years ago in Macedonia that was only hiring female brick layers.
One interesting bar was opened somewhere in Estonia where women had to pay for guys’ drinks.

michaeljin's picture

Are people seriously complaining about this? She's a MODEL. Her job is literally to be a human prop or coat hanger...

Lennart Böwering's picture

We have to understand here that the issue is not "presenting a product with a girl". It's "presenting a product with a girl without purpose". (It's not an issue of being feminist or not)
Of course some reactions to this are over the top which is to be expected in a world that is rightfully very sensitive about unnecessary(!) objectification. The real reason why Zeiss deserves some backlash is because of it's laziness here.
What is the reason for her holding the lens other than "we want to make our primary demographic look at the picture"? If there was even a glimpse of purpose to the way the lens is presented, there wouldn't have been such an outcry.
It's just lazy advertisement relying solely on a pretty face and body. Nothing more nothing less.

michaeljin's picture

"It's just lazy advertisement relying solely on a pretty face and body."

The way they wrote the caption made it seem like this was an off-the-cuff thing at an anime convention rather than any planned commercial shoot. Whoever manages their social media probably figured it was neat so they posted it.

Lennart Böwering's picture

I agree, especially as the Zeiss ad team usually has a pretty different style often not even showing people at all in their images.
The problem is the lack of reason. If it was photographers trying out the Zeiss glass, why giving the model one to hold? It certainly doesn't add to the shot and she's not even presenting the lens that is shot with. They might have been better off just shooting her without it and showing how the lens performs in a photoshoot.
I don't solely blame the photographer(s) either. Maybe they gave her the prop so she knew what to do with her hands.

As I stated above, I find some posts/reactions over the top and personally wouldn't have thought it to be sexist. But it's good to question our mindset in this regard. A simple "why?" can go a long way in creating a more gender-equal world.

michaeljin's picture

"A simple "why?" can go a long way in creating a more gender-equal world."

True.

marc gabor's picture

whoever manages their social media should be sacked. there are so many talented people in the world who would jump at the opportunity for this gig.

Kawika Lopez's picture

Everything offends someone these days. Its getting pretty annoying.

lee arthur's picture

Forgive me for not being up and hip with somethings, but what is SJW?

I would like to point that this photo shows Zeiss's inclusivity.

After all, in the beginning of the movie, Ariel does not have any legs!

Then later, in order to have legs, she has to give up her voice.

At this point, when she is washed up on land, she is literally a voice-less refugee from another country, whose leader is a despotic personality who inherited his position.

The underwater kingdom has no parliament, no congress, and is neither a republic (in the sense of the USA) nor does it have any democratic institutions.

Ariel wanted to be kissed by a handsome prince (imagine that), and he wanted to do her. The Mer sisters were clamoring for the affection of their father (stereotyping), the price’s crew is all male, the chef wants to eat Sebastian (not vegan), the king is muscular, a woman is the antagonist, etc. The loser SJWs hate Disney.

She would look much better playing with a generic-appearing camera and that nice lens. I guess not enough imagination was at play, and no one could fix up a camera to make it look anime-ish. Would have liked to have seen it. Next time, Zeiss.

I'm sure these people who have nothing better to do than troll and manipulate are laughing their asses off for pulling off another one.... while real issues like mercy killings, human trafficing, and forced child labor still exists.

Chris Mai's picture

Isn't it a bit off target to fingerpoint at zeiss when it is actually the anime crowd who use stereotypes as the core concept of their whole movement ? the outrage is kind of ridiculous.

apologizing only provides these lunatics with a false sense of justification. wrong move. I don't feel in focus with zeiss in the way I felt before reading this article and I am someone who can actually afford to buy expensive lenses and does so on a regular basis.

The photos are bland but wow. These people just wake up in the morning scanning the web for things they can feel offended about. What a bunch of pathetic morons

David Pavlich's picture

It's turned into a well organized industry. Dictate policy by offense. The problem is, too many succumb to it.

According to some Ariel lived in the Renaissance era. And she lived underwater most of her life. How would it make sense if she suddenly picked up a modern lens and camera and started using them? What they captured in this photoshoot in terms of a story is perfectly logical.

Jesus, people nowadays get offended by absolutely everything, it's so stupid.

This article seems as click-baity as a Canon vs. Nikon vs.Sony articles but with more people willing to parade their vile personalities.

Rob Davis's picture

Social Justice is not defined by the worst videos that can be found on YouTube, which can be found for any group you want to demonize. The spirit behind Social Justice is absolutely in line with Christianity (e.g. Beatitudes, Matthew 25 or 1 Corinthians to name just a few).

David Pavlich's picture

Just another sign that Western Civilization is inexorably, inevitably, undoubtedly, headed for the proverbial cliff. Common sense has become the victim and now that the whiners know that they can dictate policy by letting enough people know that they are offended, common sense will continue its slide.

Mr Reeman's picture

By the time the model finished handling it, it was a 300mm!!! Ooophs might have offended someone. Tough!

That is why they call people like her "talent".

Marko Medić's picture

Ehm, it's almost 12 inches LOL

Motti Bembaron's picture

"If Ariel chose it, maybe have her use it with a camera rather than make her sit like a prop,” came one suggestion."

Unbelievable.

People are so quick to get offended. it's ridiculous.

" that the camera industry occasionally struggles to shake off. "

You mean it thrives on it, right?

Zeiss apologized so now they get "woke" points and a headline.

Ariel is obsessed with collecting human treasures. These photos pay homage to her collection of thingamabobs and dinglehoppers.

Ah ... thank you for the explanation. Not that many, including Zeiss, are up on pop culture.

Tom Kinsman's picture

What an effing joke...

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