Shot On Nikon – The Tank Man Photo at the Center of Leica Ad Controversy Actually Captured with Famous Japanese Camera Brand


Leica is still digging itself out of the controversy that erupted when a Brazilian marketing agency unleashed an ad upon the world that depicted the famous camera brand capturing a series of historical events that resulted in legendary photos such as Tiananmen Square’s famous Tank Man photo.

Still a sensitive issue in China to this day, public discussion of what happened in Tiananmen Square is not allowed, let alone in advertising.

Image by Dan Freeman Avatar of user Dan Freeman

And, given Leica’s close relationship with major Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, and you have a recipe for a public relations disaster – which is exactly what Leica has dealt with since the ad was released.

The marketing company behind the ad said, “F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi has worked for the representative of Leica in Brazil since 2012, developing content for several different media platforms for the client over this time…The commercial ‘The Hunt’, launched in Brazil this week, is another among these works that we have developed together with this client and for which we have immense pride and are sure to have delivered a remarkable piece. …[The company] would never harm its huge reputation by creating, producing and airing a work without the proper approval of its client.”

Though Leica has distanced themselves from the ad and its makers (you can read about that here), the scandal hasn’t exactly died down and Leica’s name remains banned on the Chinese Internet as of press.

But, as if to add just a little bit more pain to Leica’s misery, some media outlets are pointing out that the ad, called “The Hunt,” isn’t even accurate in the first place.

That’s because all of the photographers involved in taking the Tank Man photos have said they used Nikon cameras, not Leica. This fact was discovered by German news outlet Spiegel Online.

Further, in the account of his story with the New York Times, Charlie Cole identified the cameras used as Nikon cameras.

If you’d like to watch “The Hunt,” you can do that here on YouTube.

[PetaPixel, Spiegel Online, The New York Times]

About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

Who cares what camera it was. Cameras are just tools for photographers. The focus has been shifted away from a great journalistic image of its time onto old piece of gear and wich “brand” it happened to be. In a big picture, these brands are just trying to squeese som marketing buzz out if this tragical event.
Very pathetic

Sure, but I am pretty sure if I used one of your photos and attributed it to another photographer, you would attempt to correct the mistake.

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