did you read this? was new to me.
The program was dream come true run by a true visionary. It wasn’t about selling product it was about teaching and education. In the big picture if you taught and inspired people, they would buy cameras and if it was a Nikon or a Canon or a Leica it was all good for the overall industry. Michael Newler had one problem, he cared. In fact he cared so much that he put all of us first. This led to problems because we were first and the corporation was second. Michael was not a corporate player. He spoke his mind and really only cared about making the Explorer of Light program the best photographic program on earth. We all got to know each other and we all developed life long friendships within this tight knit group. Michael went to bat for all of us on every front explaining to management time and time again why we should not be traveling on food per diems as an example. He would go to the top and say these guys aren’t employees, they don’t get health care and vacations and they don’t even get a salary. We, Canon need to treat them with respect and understand that they are freelancers and they all get paid large sums from their clients so lets just treat them with respect. Michael was relentless trying to pursue perfection and we all adored him. We loved Canon. We travelled, spoke, ate and drank good wine and Michael would just go to bat for us because in the end the cost of the program was a drop in the bucket to the billions that Canon was making. In fact Canon would spend more to have their logo at major tennis event and other sporting venues than they spent on all of us combined. That said we talked, we inspired and people purchased what we talked about. Finally we threw a major surprise party for Michael in New York and just about every Explorer of Light showed up. It was the culmination of everything he had done for us and the program but we made a fatal mistake. We did not invite some of the Canon Management and they started to retaliate. The writing was on the wall and the program was going to change. Michael took a well deserved vacation and when he returned he literally found that his pass key didn’t work. When he asked a security guard why his card didn’t work he was led to human resources and told he was done. It was one of the most inhumane executions I have ever seen. With that move the program changed and not in a good way.
This year there was another round of blood letting and I truly thought I was at least safe. I was even using Canon printers but I was told that my metrics weren’t right. Numbers don’t lie, people do because my metrics were about as good as they could get. To this day on the Canon web site I am listed as having 16,391 views and 125 searches which far exceeds any other Explorer. I have an image on Google with close to 20,000,000 hits and gave lectures, workshops, and multiple ads in magazines like The New Yorker, PDN, Popular Photography and more but my metrics weren’t right. I along with many others were reduced to the title of emeritus which sounds more like a disease and it was an insult. Canon was convinced that the future is video but they lack in my opinion a fundamental understanding of the very art form. just because a camera shoots video one is not a cinema photographer and Canon does not get this. They should have learned from there past mistakes because they have made them before. At one point they thought the future was point and shoot cameras and they spent billions but in the end they got their behinds kicked by Apple and the iPhone. They wanted cinema photographers in the Explorer of Light program and they should have started a different program but they lacked insight because they thought they would be able to use the material that the cinema photographers shot for promotion. The problem was and is simple, most cinema folks don’t own their rights, they are owned by studios.
I had to make a decision, do I sit back and remain an emeritus? It was a tough decision because I really like Steve Inglima but this is business and I simply could not go on supporting a company that stabbed me in the back. I started to look for a new home. I tried a lot of brands but I was looking for a lot more than a brand. I was looking for another “Newlah”. The cameras are tools and the tools help but it is our wet ware that creates the images and it is people that make a company. Switching back to Epson printers was a no brainer because I used them for decades and love the printers and the people behind them like Dan Steinhardt and Eddie Murphy. For cameras however, I needed a company that believed in the still image and my search bought me back to my very roots where I started which was Nikon. William Pekala who is soon retiring is a class act and built a legacy that I believe will live on and Nikon believes in photographers. I have found so many people whom I sincerely respect at Nikon like Joseph Carey, Michael Corrado, Mark Suban and Angie Salazar. So to make a long story short, I have come home to Nikon and I couldn’t be happier.