Coinciding with annual Canon shareholder meeting, the winning climate change-themed image will be displayed in Times Square, New York City, to pressure camera company into public response
Screenshot from the campaign’s visual animation
A global climate change-themed photography competition has launched to raise awareness of the climate denial being spread by Japanese technology company Canon’s think tank, the Canon Institute for Global Studies (CIGS).
Open to the general public, the competition features the tagline #CamerasDontLie with the winning image going on to receive once-in-a-lifetime exposure in Times Square, New York City, ahead of Canon’s annual shareholder meeting in late March 2023.
Each entry for the #CamerasDontLie competition must involve climate change in its subject matter and will be judged by an international panel of renowned photographers, artists and activists such as:
- Celina Chien: An artist and storyteller, London-based Chein is an outspoken advocate of environmental and social justice who combines her roles as an ecologist, award-winning photographer and actor to share emotive narratives, harness empathy for change, and advocate for biodiversity. In 2021, Chein was a finalist in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and currently sits on its 2023 judging panel.
- Hisham Akira Bharoocha: Raised between California and Tokyo, Bharoocha brings his multicultural influence to visual art, photography, music, musical performances and installations. Now based in Brooklyn, US, his 25-year career has seen his work featured in global art institutions such as MoMa (US), MoCA (US), The Sydney Opera House (Australia), Barbican (UK) and many more.
- Naoki Ishikawa: With interests in anthropology and folklore, Tokyo-based Ishikawa completed a doctoral course in Fine Arts at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and has received several highly-esteemed awards for his photography, including Photographic Society of Japan’s Newcomer Award, the Kodansha Publishing Culture Award and many more. His works are in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and others.
Launched by corporate accountability group Action Speaks Louder and climate-concerned photographers, the competition is a response to Canon think tank’s research director Taishi Sugiyama — who has sat on influential Japanese government task forces — labelling the climate crisis as ‘fake news’ and publishing books questioning climate science, including one targeted at Japanese school children.
The CIGS’ comments align with Canon’s failure to commit to clean energy. Canon has only committed to a 4.85% renewable energy target, while its peers such as Sony, Ricoh, Fujifilm, Nikon and Panasonic have committed to 100% renewable electricity. A Transition Asia report from late 2022 also revealed Canon has effectively halved its emissions reduction target.
Action Speaks Louder is calling on Canon to issue a public statement that it in no way endorses the anti-science and pro-fossil fuel views of CIGS. The group is also demanding Canon commit to 100% renewable electricity and advocate for the rapid energy transition in Japan.
“Canon is one of the world’s most influential brands and has the capacity to catalyse real climate action. But the reality of Canon’s promotion of climate denial coupled with its appalling record on clean energy would shock its customers. This competition aims to harness the creativity of photographers around the world to challenge Canon to be the sustainable company it markets itself as.” Action Speaks Louder, Executive Director, James Lorenz
“Supporting an institution linked to climate change denial and the spread of inaccurate information regarding clmate science is tantamount to sabotaging our collective habitable future on this planet. Canon has an enormous responsibility as a company in its own operations and as a global brand. Does Canon want its legacy to be on the wrong side of history? Stop supporting environmental misinformation and be the medium of change-making storytelling.” Cameras Don’t Lie judge and award-winning photojournalist and actor, Celina Chien
“There’s no holding off the climate crisis. There’s no time to waste with climate change scepticism. Photography will tell us the truth.” Kohei Saito, Associate Professor, University of Tokyo Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
“A significant portion of ‘what appears to be a scientific controversy’ over the climate crisis is intended to delay action. A company that aims for a sustainable future should keep a distance from such a manufactured controversy, which would undermine its core value.” Seita Emori, Professor, Institute for Future Initiatives, the University of Tokyo/Senior Principal Researcher, National Institute for Environmental Studies
The photography competition is live, and entries can be submitted via the competition page https://speakslouder.org/camerasdontlie. The deadline for entries is 23:59 on 28th February Japan Standard Time