Recording diversity: ED&I / Equality Diversity and Inclusion; how photography can align with corporate policy on workplace inclusion.
Equality Diversity and Inclusion – how photographers can contribute to a better environment.
When I first submitted this article to my social media I had a slight knot of worry that I may have used the wrong terms, perhaps I should have passed it in front of some legal expert. Counter culture is so strong that I was concerned even to put something in print. However, I have always felt that it is better to use my voice than be silent on important subjecs. I have re-written various paragraphs and – here it is.
Equality Diversity and Inclusion have become more than just buzzwords in todays corporate environment, and rightly so. They are guiding principles that shape the culture and identity of organizations.
Equality diversity and inclusion – by understanding the positive benefit and the importance of contribution by people from diverse backgrounds, best practice brings respect across the board. Companies around the globe are signing up to excellency principles, making concerted efforts to foster a workplace environment that celebrates difference, and values every individual’s unique contribution. As a photographer, I firmly believe that my lens has a pivotal role to play in reflecting and promoting these values. This belief has been at the core of my practice throughout my career. In fact it was why I first took up photography as a teenager. In this article, I will share my views on how my photography aligns with corporate policy, mission statements and ethos in terms of equality diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
It has to be said that organisations which have an authentic Equality Diversity and Inclusion or ED&I policy will reap the rewards, and these rewards will be visible. Creating an environment where the workforce can bring their whole selves to work, without covering or masking, is good for business. It is also good for the client, the product, the end result. An inclusive workplace promotes innovation, problem solving, increases markets. It also attracts talent, extends retention, produces high performance teams and builds reputation. I am going to point out two marketing campaigns that absolutely illustrate this; first the Victoria’s Secret #Undefinable brand which has extended from the traditional skinny ‘Angels’ to intimate clothing for a more inclusive body type and now for people of mixed ability for VS Adaptive. The second is the Virgin Atlantic reel, which I’m sure many people have seen by now.
Photography is a powerful medium. It is not just about taking pictures but building a story about the company as a whole. In an era of visual overload, where photo editing and filters can easily distort reality, I strive to capture the unfiltered, genuine moments that reflect the true essence of a company’s workforce. My lens does not discriminate, and I ensure that every individual including those with protected characteristics, is given a fair chance to be seen and heard. This approach mirrors the commitment of inclusive organizations to create a level playing field of equality for all their stakeholders, valuing their unique perspectives and experiences.
In a corporate setting, this means capturing the essence of a diverse workforce. It means showcasing employees of different genders, ethnicities, ages, abilities, and orientations in a way that reflects their authentic selves. By doing this, I help companies present themselves as places where everyone can find a sense of belonging and respect. Corporate events, awards and conferences are situations when a company can illustrate its commitment to diversity and inclusion. This is where the effectiveness of an ED&I policy shows its reward with and to the workforce, the clients, the service and the organisation. I play my part by recording this success.
In an inclusive workplace, it is essential for all employees to feel heard and valued. My photography can play a role in amplifying those voices and conveying the stories that make each person unique. By doing so, I hope that I help create a sense of community, where individuals can relate to and support one another, fostering a culture of inclusion. This authenticity aligns with corporate policy that emphasize transparency and trust. Authentic photography demonstrates a commitment to sincerity, which is an integral aspect of an inclusive workplace culture where individuals can bring their whole selves to work without fear of judgment.
Additionally, my photography plays a role in challenging stereotypes and biases. Equality diversity and inclusion are not just about representation but also about breaking down the preconceived notions that can hinder growth and innovation. By showcasing employees in roles and situations that challenge traditional expectations, I can encourage viewers to question their own biases and perceptions. I can also challenge the stereotypes that may exist. This, in turn, contributes to the corporate mission of creating a workplace where talent and potential are recognized above all else.
I believe that my photography aligns with an Equality Diversity and Inclusion or ED&I corporate policy by fostering a sense of pride and unity among employees. When employees see themselves and their colleagues represented in the company’s visual identity, it sends a powerful message that they are valued, and their contributions matter. This sense of pride and unity is a fundamental component of inclusive workplaces, where employees are not just part of a workforce but part of a family. My photography can help create an emotional connection between employees and their organization, encouraging them to actively engage with the company’s mission of diversity and inclusion.
Photography is a potent medium that can shape perceptions and convey powerful messages. As a photographer, I see my role as an essential part of an ED&I corporate policy. Through this work, I contribute to creating a more inclusive corporate culture, where every individual’s unique contribution is celebrated, and differences are seen as strengths rather than weaknesses. In the age of visual storytelling, the camera’s lens is a powerful tool for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and I am proud to play my part in this important journey. I must add that I have consciously not included photographs in this article. It would feel as if I were labeling people – have I covered this, have I covered that?? You will have to look at my greater portfolio to see how I have put this into practice. The lead picture is from a conference on ED&I / equality diversity and inclusion.
I thank the organisations who commission work from me, for their education, encouragement and support. We are all learning together, growing together and benefitting from environments that promote equality diversity and inclusion.
Equality Diversity and Inclusion (or ED&I) Resources;
For more information see Equality Diversity and Inclusion or ED&I | Law Society
The Silver Apples Photography portfolio for corporate event photography can be found by clicking here