No Longer an Olympus Visionary, Still an OMDS Fan

March 10, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Cal vs Oregon

For those that have not noticed, I am no longer an Olympus Visionary. A bittersweet ending to a fun chapter in my career.

TL:DR I still use and love Olympus gear

 

In the middle of the year, Olympus parted ways with Alex McClure, Laura Hicks, and John Sterling Ruth, all great photographers, and I started to see the writing on the wall.

There are some key reasons I think my Visionary contract was not renewed. (This is my thoughts only)

• JIP is trying to make the company more lean

• My biggest advocates within Olympus were laid off in the transition to OMDS

• OMDS marketing is targeting landscapes, birds, (and I predict, soon video)

• A bigger push for individuals with a large social media presence

• I was brought on specifically for the launch of the M1X and sports

• OMDS cannot publish most of my work on their platforms. This was a constant legal question throughout my time as a Visionary

• I don't have time to create content specifically for OMDS.

I think the last two were the biggest. It's a catch-22. I was described by a previous employee as "checking so many boxes" for the Olympus Visionary program. Sports, West Coast, and Women. I was told I was the photographer with the highest profile career. But that doesn't necessarily translate into the kind of marketing opportunities they were looking for. While they want to promote that the gear is used by pros to cover pro events, without rights to those images (per league and likeness laws requiring model releases) my work actually has less value than someone photographing family photos or birds where the images can be shared commercially. Many of their Visionaries not only provide images that can used for product placement, but also are constantly creating content that you see on their website and email promotions. "How to photograph xyz". I was so busy photographing assignments and managing KLC fotos, I didn't have time to create dedicate "how-to" guides.

As I am no longer an official ambassador it frees me up to explore beyond OMDS. A friend lent me their Panasonic 200mm f/2.8... and ooooooh is it nice!

More critically, it frees me up from social media obligations. I used to be a person that justified my time spent on social media as "I have to do this for work" without a direct ROI. There was some return in the sense that it probably helped me be named a Visionary, but then instagram became part of my contractual obligations. While I love the connections that can be made via social media, it is clear that in its current form, it does more harm than good in this world.

Though I no longer have professional affiliation OMDS, it is not a termination of my enthusiasm for the OMDS system or more importantly, my access to discounts on gear, as I am still proudly a Featured Pro. As I consider whether this freed me up to explore Sony or canon's new mirrorless offerings, I still think Olympus gear is what serves me best for what I do, at this point in my career. Though now I am more open to having someone (or some piece of gear) change my mind.

Being an Olympus Visionary was so much fun. Having a crew come out and film me "in my element" for promotional pieces. Flying to Florida to be a hands-on resource to media who were getting a sneak peak of the camera. Flying to New York and speak at B&H weeks after the announcement. Having a sample camera body with the serial number 00001. Getting to meet individuals and teach them how to optimize their gear. Being a podcast guest. These are all memories I will treasure forever and I am so grateful for the experience.

On to the next iteration of my career!
 

 


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Thanks for stopping by! I am a photographer based in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. Berkeley to be exact. I photograph sports, love, corporate, adventure... and my feet.

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