Shoot with cameras not gun – ad idea for Canon

In the wake of Cecil the Lion being killed by an idiotic, American, ‘macho-seaking’, ‘hunter’ hashtags such as #cecil and #cecilthelion went crazy on instagram and twitter.

Whilst I don’t think that it is right for brands to cash in on tragedies, sometimes they can use their voice and marketing power to spread a powerful message, which can stop similar tragedies happening in the future. I think that this is one of those times.

The ad here was my idea, nothing to do with Canon, it was not commissioned by Canon, it definitely wasn’t paid for, it probably isn’t even wanted, but it is an example of what brands can do.

The photo used was shot by myself using a Canon camera. On the trip I had a long chat with one of the guides about the issue of trophy hunting. He explained to me that it still goes on, then told me a fantastic story about a hunter that they took out, who tracked a lion, stalked it, lined up the shot through his rifle, then gently whispered bang… and never pulled the trigger. The hunter explained that he had done what he came there to do, but the lion didn’t need to die for it. If only more hunters could think this way.

Seeing lions in the wild is a magical, amazing experience. Shooting them with a camera takes just us much skill as shooting them with a rifle, and the results are far better… most people would rather hang a great photo of a lion on their wall than a taxidermy lion’s head. If I were a photography brand like Canon this is the message that I would be spreading… getting people to be proud of what they ‘shot’ (with a camera).

All the shaming in the world will never stop ‘hunters’ wanting to track animals, but if we can get them to slightly change their behaviour and shoot animals with cameras instead of rifles that will be a huge achievement for animal welfare.