A group of world-renowned photographers, including the iconic American portrait artist Annie Leibovitz, have joined Celebrity Cruises in a ground-breaking new project to change the people portrayed in travel marketing.
In the world of travel, “all-inclusive” generally means that everything on your vacation is included. But what about the deeper meaning of the term? When you look at images of travel, do they actually portray inclusivity? Do you see adequate representation of people with disabilities, or people from different ethnicities or LGBTQ+ groups?
If you personally don’t conform to the stereotypes portrayed in travel imagery, it’s all too easy to feel excluded, and to be daunted by the prospect of travel in a world where you do not feel represented.
We think the travel industry could do better. And that’s why Celebrity Cruises has launched a bold and imaginative new campaign, the All-Inclusive Photo Project (AIPP).
With the cooperation of some of the world’s finest portrait photographers and a diverse range of subjects, from models to musicians, athletes, advocates and activists, all of them changemakers representing different ethnicities, abilities, body shapes and gender and sexual orientation, we are starting a movement to help companies across the travel industry embrace diversity in their imagery.
What’s more, the All-Inclusive Photo Project will be an open-source library, which means the images will be shared across the industry for others to use.
Four acclaimed photographers have participated in the first phase of the AIPP. Naima Green is a Black, queer New York-based photographer, known for her remarkable “Pur-suit” portraiture project of queer women, trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people.
Jarrad Seng, based in Australia, is a filmmaker and creative director of Malaysian-Chinese descent who particularly seeks out projects that challenge conventional thinking and shift perspectives.
Annie Leibovitz needs no introduction and has been a long-standing advocate for the LGBTQ+ community; while Giles Duley is an English documentary photographer and a triple amputee, having lost both legs and an arm while on foot patrol with the U.S. 75th Cavalry regiment in Afghanistan.
All four have shot exquisitely beautiful images of the various talent enjoying themselves on Celebrity’s luxurious and accessible ships, as well as in destinations around the world.
Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo comments: “What Annie, indeed all of the artists involved in this project have captured so beautifully, is that for vacations to really live up to the marketing moniker ‘all-inclusive,’ then they should start by using images that are inclusive of all, not just a few.”
So who are some of the subjects who have been captured through the lens of this exciting campaign?
Abby Chava Stein is the first openly transgender woman raised in a Hasidic community. She’s a direct descendant of Hasidic Judaism’s founder, the Baal Shem Tov, and was photographed by Annie Leibovitz basking in the sunlight on the Resort Deck of a Celebrity Cruises ship.
Also portrayed enjoying time on board was John Forté, former member of hip-hop group The Fugees, now working with disadvantaged youths to deter them from drugs and crime. John and his family took their first cruise with Celebrity and were photographed by Annie Leibovitz.
People with disabilities are rarely featured in travel imagery, but fashion model Jillian Mercado, who uses a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy, is one of the subjects in AIPP helping to break this pattern.
So is Amy Conroy, a triple Paralympic wheelchair basketball player for Team Great Britain in the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games, and co-captain of the gold medal-winning team Under 25 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Beijing. Amy was photographed by Giles Duley playing volleyball on the beach in Mykonos.
Social worker Esther Onek, who was photographed by Jarrad Seng, grew up a refugee with a disability and is now a women’s advocate in Australia.
This is only the beginning. Over the coming months, Celebrity will add more images of an even wider range of people to the All-Inclusive Photo Project and will invite other photographers to contribute.
The AIPP represents another stage in Celebrity’s mission to celebrate diversity. We’ve already celebrated many firsts, all of which we’re deeply proud.
Celebrity Cruises was the first cruise line to have an American female captain, the much-loved Captain Kate McCue. We were the first to have an all-female bridge and officer team and were thrilled to celebrate the first West African woman taking up a position on the bridge of a cruise ship. We also performed one of the first legal same-sex weddings at sea—and have celebrated many more since.
If you’d like to look at the beautiful imagery created by the four photographers and their models, visit the library at allinclusivephotoproject.com. You can learn more about the inspiring backstories of the models here—and hopefully you will be challenged to rethink the way you see travel, too.