Industry News

How Photo Industry Companies are Helping Aid Ukraine

March 17, 2022

By Theano Nikitas

© Frans Lanting/Vital impacts

Updated 4/7/22

As photojournalists are risking their lives to bring us images from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, other photographers are raising funds for humanitarian aid by selling prints of their work. And photo industry companies continue to make donations and suspend shipments to Russia There are more than a few different groups that have come together, including a number of National Geographic photographers—Ami Vitale, Paul Nicklen, Jimmy Chin, Jodi Cobb and Frans Lanting, to name just a few—who have contributed prints to Vital Impacts with 100% of the profits being donated to Direct Relief, a non-profit organization currently working to provide medical aid to people affected by the conflict. Prices start at $275 for an 11 x 16-inch print. Rotolight, a British manufacturer of LED lighting products, has partnered with the Disaster Emergency Committee to launch a series of fundraising activities including a print sale and auction (look for #PhotographersForUkraine and Google for information about other groups selling prints to benefit Ukraine).

As the tragedy continues to unfold, photo and tech companies, many with European headquarters or offices and some with employees based in Ukraine, have responded with their own form of sanctions by halting sales to Russia. At the same time, companies are making donations to humanitarian and aid organizations while reaching out to employees who are based in the affected areas. We’ve pulled together some of the actions photo industry companies are currently taking in support of Ukraine.

Sigma has announced its 3rd annual Focused on the Fight Charitable Giving campaign. Running April 1 through June 30, 2022, 5% of sales (up to Sigma’s goal of $150,000) through participating dealers will be donated to charitable organizations dedicated to Ukrainian relief efforts. Sigma says the organizations they are donating to were selected based on their missions, reputations, and experience and include World Central Kitchen and Save the Children. (To see a list of participating Sigma dealers, click here.)

World Central Kitchen currently operates over 300 distribution centers in 55 cities in and around Ukraine, providing food, water, and hot meals to refugees and others in need. Learn more here.

Save the Children has been helping hundreds of thousands of children affected by conflict in Ukraine, providing food, shelter, medicine and more. Learn more here.

[Read: Support for Ukraine: A List of Resources]

Earlier this month, Canon EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) suspended all product deliveries into Russia. The company is also donating to organizations providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine and the surrounding countries including Poland, Romania, Moldova, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

Sony Group Corporation is donating $2 million U.S. dollars to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Save the Children, an international NGO. Both organizations provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine and the surrounding countries. At the same time, international Sony Group companies will collect—and match—donations from employees for additional humanitarian aid.

Fujifilm is, like other companies, first and foremost concerned about team members in Ukraine and is providing support them via Fujifilm Poland. At the same time, Fujifilm Holdings is donating $2 million U.S. dollars for humanitarian efforts as well as $1 million U.S. dollars in medical equipment.

Nikon Group has made a donation to UNHCR while Nikon Europe will also continue to donate and support humanitarian organizations in and around the region while supporting colleagues in the area. The company has “suspended product shipments to Russia.”

Leica, Zeiss and Sigma have also stopped all shipments to Russia.

As a “first step,” Panasonic Group is donating 20 million yen to the Polish Red Cross and to Peace Winds Japan, an NGO providing assistance to Ukraine and has, effectively, ceased shipments to Russia.

[Read: Skylar’s Luminar Neo: AI-Based Editing That Targets Photographers’ Pain Points]

The company for whom this war hits closest to home is Skylum. Best known for its Luminar AI photo editing application, Skylum’s core development center remains in Kyiv. The company, which has discontinued the availability of its products in Russia and Belarus, has also donated $50,000 to the Armed Forces of Ukraine while Ivan Kutanin, the CEO has contributed thermographic cameras, and emergency tourniquets for first aid. Team members are also donating their own funds and supplies and volunteering to help with humanitarian aid. Skylum is requesting that donations be made to humanitarian organizations working with Ukraine. Importantly, the photo industry company is also making donations of drones for (unarmed) surveillance purposes to help protect the citizens of Ukraine. For more information, contact:

Another software company with employees in Ukraine and Russia is Pixellu, whose CEO, Daniel Usenko is half Ukrainian and half-Russian. Currently based in the U.S., Usenko, his wife and the rest of the team—many of whom have family and friends in the affected areas—have put together a list of trusted non-profits providing help to Ukraine.

Because Adobe believes that “we have a responsibility to ensure our products and services are not used in support of this unlawful war,” the company ceased all new sales of Adobe products and services to Russia earlier this month. Additionally, Adobe has terminated access to Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Experience Cloud to Russian government controlled media outlets. Financially, the Adobe Foundation will focus on direct aid and assistance via a series of grants. To date, the grants have totaled more than $1 million USD going to International Rescue Committee, Reporters without Borders, Save the Children and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Matching employee donations will provide additional support and has, in four days, resulted in an additional combined total of $400,000.

Peak Design has ceased all shipments and sales of its products to Russia and has promised to donate any bags returned in the EU to refugees in Poland. Although logistics may be a little challenging, the company is also offering free gear to photojournalists on the ground in the affected areas.

The Shutterfly Foundation will be making a $50,000 donation to CARE Ukraine to help support the need for basic supplies while Shutterfly’s Spoonflower is making it easier for artists based in Ukraine to sell their designs.

But not all actions necessarily involve donations. For example, the folks responsible for FujiAddict, SonyAddict, 43Addict, Nikonrumors, among others, have asked their hosting company to block any and all traffic from Russia on an IP level.

If you want to help out, please visit some of the sites listed in this article or Google for more options. Even the smallest donation will make a difference.