Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory was founded in Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Their goal was to do research into quality cameras. One year in they produced the Kwanon prototype, Japan’s first 35mm camera. After a further year they registered the trade mark “Canon” and produced the Hansa Canon, launching in Feb 1936. In 1947 the company became Canon Camera Co., Inc. The makers of the great range of dSLRs that so many fellow photographers use every day. The first SLR I bought myself was nicknamed “The Tank”, the Canon T90, much loved by Fleet Street photographers for many years. Even if you don’t shoot with Canon a large percentage of you will still be using a camera that owes something to Japanese ingenuity and design.

I urge fellow photographers and fans of photography to help support the people and industry in Japan and make a donation. Give up something you can live without for a while.

Photo Aid 2011 Japan Tsunami AppealUPDATE: Thoughts of those in Japan continued to run through my mind today. I learnt that the Richter Magnitude Scale is an a base-10 logarithmic scale. A 8.8 is many times more powerful than an 8.0. Newzealand had it bad, Japan far far worse. If the quake hadn’t hurt them many people lost their homes, family members or their own lives in the few minutes the tsunami took to wash away towns. The earth quake, tsunami and nuclear hazards are I’m told now joined by volcanic activity. Friends talk of people leaving Tokyo, no doubt in a state of bewilderment, confusion or shock. For some it must feel like the four horse men of the apocalypse have ridden in.

I’ve made a donation to the British Red Cross who are passing the money on to their counterparts in Japan, but what more could be done? An idea had been taking form today and I now have a few friends that will be helping out. Can you?

How many of us use products by Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic or other brands with roots in Japan? Quite a few I’ll wager.

Photo Aid 2011 – Project Sun Rise

If you can join in and help us out in London or run an event in your home town please do. With the global photographer communities sites like Flickr has helped create we should be able to raise a significant amount of donations to help those in need by doing something we already love, photography.

The idea is a simple extension of the 100Strangers project created by Teppo Moisio in Finland.

Get strangers to pose for a portrait, preferably well lit with studio lighting, either strobe or constant, in return for a donation to the charity via uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PhotoAid2011 (Recommended by TBRC, events run outside the UK will have to set up their own VMG page).
The photos taken should have the project logo and text added to help spread the word, the images added to the Flickr group for the subjects to download and post onto their profile sites such as Facebook.