As our ONA community in Australia already begins to ring in the New Year, we wanted to take a look back at ONA’s seventh year as a company and highlight some of our favorite moments—and the people who we were fortunate to meet, learn from, and partner with.
We started the year by releasing two of our now-most-popular designs: the Bond Street camera bag—our most compact bag to date—and the Kyoto leather wrist strap. both designed based on input and suggestions from the ONA community. To launch them, asked two of our favorite New York City-based photographers to take them out in the city for the day.
For our first event of 2017, we hosted a dumpling crawl from Mimi Cheng’s to Nom Wah Tea Parlor in New York’s Chinatown, with over fifty local photographers and familiar faces like Tutes, Ilitch Peters, Jane Kim, Pei Ketron, Nikk La, and Mat Rick. We also hosted a visit to DIA:Beacon to preview our new Beacon Lens Case, led by photographer Omar Robles.
As part of our series of creative profiles, we featured two California-based creatives and the ONA bags they carry: the Leather Clifton backpack is a staple in the wardrobe of well-traveled style blogger and model Rocky Barnes; photographer Matt Gee carries the Beacon Lens Case.
We launched our first-ever campaign—“See The World In A New Light”—to encourage and foster new voices in storytelling around the world, supported by our new Storytelling Fund. For our first series of Storytelling Fund grants, we partnered with Women Photograph to announce three $2500 grants for emerging female documentary photographers.
We partnered with AdoramaTV and the Sony Alpha Collective as the official bag and strap partner of “Through the Lens: Cuba,” which followed seven photographers as they captured the people, sights, and sounds of Cuba. Watch the first episode below:
At the end of May, we started our summer photowalk series with the ONA community, by teaming up with Leica Store San Francisco for a golden hour walk through downtown San Francisco.
After a chance meeting the summer before in Venice Beach, we were proud to release our collaboration with Saltfish Surf Co., a purveyor of surfboard bags and surf lifestyle goods. The limited edition version of our Bowery bag sold out; watch our short film below to see how Saltfish sourced their signature woven textile from Oaxaca for the bag.
We also celebrated our 7th anniversary in June, with a special release of three new colorways exclusive* to three of our international territories (*we made them available globally in October). And we brought together our New York community to toast the occasion at Urban Cowboy in Brooklyn.
Above: ONA team members Jillian, our founder Tracy, Pam, Bryan, Katie, and Jess.
Our summer photo walk series continued with events in Seattle, Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York. We were also proud to announce the three recipients of the first-ever Women Photograph + ONA grants for emerging female documentary photographers: Luján Agusti, Gabriella Demczuk, and Néha Hirve (work featured below, L-R). More than 500 photographers applied from around the world, and the applications were judged by an independent panel from National Geographic, NPR, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and Women Photograph.
For our second Storytelling Fund project, we announced a new project with our long-time partners at 100cameras to more than double their impact to-date. Together, we launched the next wave of 100cameras Snapshot Projects, powered by ONA. Snapshot Projects bundle what 100cameras has learned in the field and then train, equip, and support individual storytellers in teaching the 100cameras curriculum. We invited photographers from around the world to apply, and last week announced the eight finalists, including Katie Hebson, who recently completed her Snapshot Project in Peru. Read her story here.
We partnered again with Women Photograph to host the inaugural Women Photograph + ONA Workshop; the day-long event brought together over fifty female documentary photographers during New York’s Photoville. We also co-hosted a pair of photo walks at Photoville, with Leica Camera and two of our favorite New York photographers, Mat Rick and Tutes. And in between, we heard from photographers Sheila Pree Bright and Danny Wilcox Frazier, ahead of their Photoville panel, about their work together to capture race and wealth disparity in America in a new light.
To celebrate Small Business Saturday, we profiled three unique small businesses that support and nurture their local photography community: Looking Glass Photo in Berkeley (below), Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, and Treehouse, Honolulu. We asked three local photographers from the ONA community to help us capture their stories.
We ended the year by asking six photographers from the ONA community (including two Storytelling Fund projects) to tell us about their work on important causes and issues around the world; we call them the December Stories and we encourage you to read each of them.
And in the spirit of the season, we received an unexpected gift before Christmas from two of our favorite storytellers—Christian Watson and Elle-May Leckenby. It’s a fitting tribute to the creativity and inspiration that our community provides us every day; you can watch it below.
Thank you for your support this year, and we look forward to an amazing 2018.
– The ONA Team