Tamara Lackey at Global Launch, Nikon Z7 Mirrorless

Tamara Lackey at Global Launch of Nikon Z7 Mirrorless System

Six months ago, I was asked a VERY SURREAL series of questions by a rather distinguished ad agency in Tokyo, (which would eventually be about the new Z7 camera):

  • Would I be interested in producing and shooting a global campaign for The Nikon Corporation, utilizing a beta camera and native lens that were to be the keystones of their completely new mirrorless system?
  • Would I be interested in mapping out multiple locations throughout Mexico to travel throughout while doing a series of shoots with an assembled crew?
  • Would I then travel to Tokyo to present my work at the global launch event in late August?

Also – and this part was considered critical:

Would I agree to never tell anyone anything about it for the entirety of the next six months?

Um, yes. Yes to all.

So, after signing all the necessary agreements where I committed to telling no one what I was working on, I promised to hide the gear while shooting with it, I adhered to sending all communications through encryption servers, and I committed to not share with anyone that I was even invited to the global launch event in Japan, (and certainly not that I would actually be part of the launch event), we started working on logistics.


The Global Launch Day for the Nikon Z7 Mirrorless System introduced this exquisite new camera system that really does break ahead from years and years of solid Nikon production.

At 1pm Tokyo Time on August 23rd, we launched this new series of products, legitimate game-changers for the imaging industry. There were two of us invited to join the Nikon executive team as speakers on stage – me and Rob Whitworth, a UK photographer who focuses on super cool time-lapse work (like his work on BBC’s Planet Earth). For my part, I spoke to my experiences of shooting with the Z7 in the Yucatan Peninsula and Central Mexico and my immediate impressions of working with the gear. I may or may not have taken QUITE a number of deep breaths backstage before stepping out in front of 300+ members of the press, as well as the executive team who had just spoken, and so many other individuals filling out the standing-room-only event space.

It was a nervewracking, fantastic experience.
Fantastic because – well, I’d never done anything like this before. Like, ever. And the fact that my daughters were watching this from the other side of the world meant a great deal to me.

And nervewracking because, for my part, there was more to consider than just showing the work. Certainly, there’s the need to keep pace with timing (the slides were being advanced for me from the back of the room) and there’s also where and where not to stand on stage. There’s pausing as subtly but as fully as possible throughout the talk at pre-planned times, in order for translations in multiple other languages to come through properly. And there’s keeping a similar feel and pacing to the rest of the event to help deliver a more cohesive viewing experience, as the whole event was being live-streamed around the world.

And since this event to introduce the Z7 was being produced by over 100 people on site, this wasn’t just about sharing my first impressions – it was also about respecting the time and effort of everyone else involved with this! And it’d been years of time leading to this. I really felt that and didn’t want to let anyone down.

Luckily, all went quite smoothly. And that felt like nothing short of good fortune, given how many moving parts I saw at play behind the scenes.

I want to make sure to thank my rather trusting, above & beyond production crew on the Z7 project, which included Miriam MJ Beckman (who I have worked with on my new reDefine Show: Animal Edition), Soichi, Rhesa Versola, Jun, and Beate Epp. And I have to say that I’ll be excited to share images from all my shoots soon, as I’m incredibly happy with them.

But mostly, for right now, I just kinda felt like I finally wanted to say it all out loud.

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