Hi folks! As many of you may know, we have a general policy to not work with several companies that we consider to be harmful to the world of photography. We’ve called out many in the past, as well as individuals whom we may have featured on this website. Unsplash is one of those brands. And previously, Polaroid has worked with them. But in a recent meeting, Polaroid explained to us what happened. Because of this, we cannot hold the actions against them, and we will continue to work with them.
For those wondering what happened in the first place, a Polaroid employee pledged to work with Unsplash for the 2020 awards. Unsplash is a brand that often tricks young and unwitting photographers into giving their images up completely for free. Those images can then be used by companies for commercial reasons. They’re also most likely the fuel that can be used for things like AI-powered imagery. Unfortunately, photographers who aren’t that experienced just aren’t aware of the damage they’re doing to professionals who make their income from the services they provide.
Once a brand works with the awards, they’re often sworn off from us unless they explain. A Peak Design rep previously told us that we should just get over it. A Moment rep told us that it’s a larger problem within the industry and essentially tried to gaslight us.
There have been instances where companies have come forward to apologize for the actions though. Leica UK had a representative who decided to work with Unsplash on his own accord. When our representatives in the US heard about this, they distanced themselves and assured us that they had nothing to do with it. So, too, did Germany.
In the case of Polaroid, it was shared with us that a representative took it upon themselves to be associated with the Unsplash awards. And for what it’s worth, the company didn’t give any sort of official blessing to do this. Further, Polaroid currently has no association with Unsplash.
Polaroid isn’t a billion-dollar company, and so we’re giving them the exception. As a result, we’re going to be working with them in the future and updating our reviews of their film as well as their other products. We will also be working on incorporating them into our recommended product round-ups from now on.
There are obviously other reasons why we wouldn’t work with certain companies. B&H Photo has a history of constantly being sued for discrimination against employees. Sigma has previously tried to do work to control our editorial reviews while not understanding that there is a difference.
My background in this comes from looking at the photography industry and seeing how many aspects of it have become hurtful and detrimental. The site is a big supporter of many equality-based and progressive issues such as fighting global warming, women in the industry, the support of people of color within photography, uplifting the words of the LGBTQAI+ community, and ethics to ensure that photographers can keep doing their jobs.
Let me put it this way to you in ways that you might be able to understand easier.
If you support the writers in the writer’s strike, you should support photographers.
If you support actors in the actor’s strike, you should support photographers.
If you support the fact that journalism should be considered separate from influencers, marketers, and AI, then you should support photographers.
Why did this need a dedicated article? Because we consider it incredibly important to the photo industry that everyone should be taking an active part of the preservation of our craft.