Patience, resilience and adaptability. Today, these three words are infused with meaning as qualities that we have all needed to see us through our current situation and the uncertainty it brings. But these are also traits that photographers and videographers naturally bring to their work every day – even before the lockdown. A dedication to learning their craft, the ability to bounce back when things don’t go quite to plan and an openness to change are the hallmarks of the creative communities Canon serves, works with and champions every day.
As we exited 2019, we left a jam-packed year behind us. It was filled with places where we met aspiring and enthusiastic photographers, projects through which we supported and helped exciting new talent, and we explored the world with our incredible Ambassadors, giving insights into their lives, passions and kitbags. We knew that in 2020 we would continue to respond to photographers’ needs and inspire them to tell the stories that matter in the most powerful way – and we were excited! Our schedule brought together teams from across countries and gave life to full-scale production shoots that would push the creative boundaries of photographers and videographers.
But as one country after another started to lock down, there was a brief moment that felt something like a deep breath – a pause – where we collectively waited to be able to fully comprehend what was unfolding. Our vast networks of free-thinking, wide-roaming photographers and videographers had their lives turned upside down. Their income disappeared, freedom frustrated and, ultimately, they couldn’t do the thing they love they the most. There was a palpable sense of solidarity amongst my teams for what was happening to our beloved industry. We looked around us and watched the world grind to a slow halt. And saw that we needed to speed up.
Months of work went on ice and we began afresh, using our own reserves of patience, resilience and adaptability to build a place that we hoped would become a kind of connective tissue in our community. A place to learn, yes. But also, one of reassurance and honesty.
In practical terms, this meant bringing together some of the world’s most prized photographers and videographers. The kind of talent who have a lot to share and very little space in their trophy cabinets. We asked these incredible, award-winning creative talents to put themselves in a vulnerable place – in front of the cameras they are so used to being behind. We asked them to try something new and learn to shoot video when it was outside of their comfort zones. Stripped of breathtaking locations and high-end production techniques, we asked them to simply be creatives helping creatives the best way they know how. With all the nerves, noisy children, bad lighting and shaky camerawork that brings.
The result is Canon Connected. A truly photographer-to-photographer experience that is so much more than tutorials. Something entirely uncontrived that really speaks to the needs of creatives living in uncertain and frightening times. We wanted it to be about learning new skills from each other, sharing what it is to make images, the vast potential of what can be done with a camera in a world where stories are everywhere, and anything is possible. It may live on after life returns to a semblance of normality, but it was designed and built at exceptional speed to capture a moment in time and address the very practical needs of our restricted circumstances. It’s a place to sharpen skills and work with the creative’s best friend – limitations.
Because now is not the time to stop telling stories. This chapter of history will be seen and understood through the images we make. Some will be frightening and sad, a few may be monumental and iconic. But most will capture those enduring moments of our shared human experiences. They will be the stories of people and places in a time like to no other and show who we are and how we came together, even when we had to be apart. They will add another valuable word to the list of superb qualities we share: determination. And as this strange time continues, let’s not forget that the people we were before lockdown are the people we will continue to be after it is over:
Patient, resilient, adaptable, determined… but also connected.