by Tanya on February 13, 2014
By now many of us have stumbled upon several sites which poke fun at the ridiculous nature of stock photography. Awkward Stock Photos, Woman Laughing Alone With Salad and Feminism, According to Stock Photography, to name a few, are common examples. These photo collections are great for a Friday afternoon laugh at the office but have you ever considered the social impact of stock photography? A huge amount of the media we consume daily, be it advertising, magazine covers or brochures we casually pick up at the doctors office, use stock photography as its main source of imagery. It can be the more affordable option when budgets and time are limited. But when these databases of images are outdated and old-fashioned they can contribute to stereotypes and be harmful to the groups of people they represent.
This is the driving issue behind a newly launched collaboration between
Getty Images and LeanIn.org, a non-profit organization started by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, named after her successful book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Sandberg has become an advocate for women achieving leadership roles and in her view the commonly used but typically outdated nature of stock photography is harmful to girls and women.
Getty Images will now offer a new collection of images aimed at showing professional woman in more contemporary roles. Casting aside the idea that all women in business must wear high heels and carry a briefcase, the new images depict women and families in more current clothing and non-traditional job roles and situations.
The conversation around working women has seen a surge in popularity recently with the publication of Sandberg’s book, as well as others on the topic such as The MomShift by Reva Seth which focuses on stories of real-life women and how they navigate parenthood and career success.
A recent Time Magazine cover story about Hillary Clinton’s possible presidential campaign showed an image of a giant high heel stepping on a tiny man. Essentially making the case for why the new Getty Images collection is a much needed step in the right direction for the stock photo community. Ten percent of the revenue from the photos purchased will go to LeanIn.org. To view the new collection, click here.
Image via iStock.com, GettyImages.com & Time Magazine