Whether we’re talking about the dark side of stock photography or images you won’t be able to unsee, the Internet seems obsessed with these tasteless crimes against photography. Such lousy pictures really stand out from the crowd—over-exaggerated emotions, questionable settings, poor editing—the list goes on. Bad stock photos have that rare quality of capturing our attention, and examples of workers failing at their jobs are a source of pure comedy gold.
People all across the internet are laughing at images of librarians poking at computer screens, astronomers in lab coats looking at the sky, or marketing managers taking meetings fully dressed at the beach. Via a viral Twitter hashtag, #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob, users share absurd interpretations of their professions.
Since you can never get enough of such posts, Bored Panda has collected a variety of strange and funny pictures from this hashtag. Scroll down, upvote your favorites and make sure to check out Part 1 of this post!
When it comes to photographers’ perception of what people actually do at their jobs, it seems that scientists, teachers, programmers and doctors are the most wronged professionals. Just take a look at how they are depicted in this list: coding in a dark room or using a stethoscope on a tree while wearing a lab coat. And the captions people add for the photos make it even more hilarious.
To tell you a little bit more about it, a stock photo is a generic image that is often used for creative purposes and is usually taken without a specific purpose in mind. And it shows. Looking at some of the stock photos, you can’t help but wonder, why are those people so happy pointing at a computer screen or why is that man with an eye-patch playing the abacus like a musical instrument. Pretty specific, right? Well, there is no product without demand.
Stock images are a great way to get high-quality photos for a variety of purposes. You can buy a license for a specific image and use it across many different channels. Most people and brands do this in order to save some money on hiring professionals to create original content. In short, stock bank users get the photos they need and photographers earn some easy money in return.
Usually, a person who is browsing through a stock photography site already has an idea of what they are looking for. The thing is, people uploading the images need to anticipate the demand before the search actually happens. It seems that this year, the most popular trends are vintage lifestyle photos, cultural diversity, authentic living, and even modern aging.
However, not all photographers follow what’s in right now. As we have discussed, some stock pictures have a pretty bad reputation for being corny and fake. Know Your Meme even has a page for stock photo clichés. The first curation of awkward stock images started with the blog called Awkward Stock Photos in 2010. You probably remember the widely known images of women laughing alone with a salad or business people doing yoga. Pictures like these were just so absurd, they quickly went viral.
People actually don’t dislike stock photos so much as they don’t take them seriously. The common appreciation of these pictures is usually based on irony, especially among millennials. It may seem like common sense, but you should not use them for your website or any other channels since “bad stock images aren’t friendly and inviting.”
Portraying professionals completely inaccurately and sometimes even inappropriately can seem absolutely pointless. Yet, some people make a living out of it. The Independent spoke to two people who have been involved in stock image photography, Jim Murtagh from New York and Andi Dean from North Carolina.
Jim did stock photos a few years back when he was involved in the comedy scene and thought this would be good for publicity. “I’m not sure exactly how many photos were taken but the whole shoot lasted about an hour and I was paid absolutely no money to do it,” he said. “At first, I just had to stand near a window and smile to get some generic ‘nice boy’ shots but then they had me sit at a computer and make several different expressions to go with different headlines they would use me for.”
Even though the photographers were nice, they did not provide any of the clothes or props. “I agreed that the images could be used for any article – I do not have any veto power on what they use it for,” he continued. Over the years, his face has been featured on pieces about any man or alt-right troll screaming at women but it’s so over the top that it makes him laugh.
The most annoying part is that people who recognize him, constantly send him links to these articles: “I just wanna say: ‘Yeah, it was four years ago, leave me alone. We don’t talk anymore’. And my family is confused; I explained to my aunts and uncles that it is satire so the articles are fake but they still barely get it. They always tell me I should get a lawyer. They don’t understand why I’d do it willingly.”
It was quite different for Andi. She was quite an active stock model and was able to earn some money from the shoots. “Each shoot lasted about four to five hours and around 2000-3000 photos were taken. About 400-500 of those made the final cut. But since I’ve done a few, there are still probably over 2500 pictures of me out there for people to download,” she said.
“At the beginning of each shoot, I’d sign a waiver stating I’d give up all rights to the photos,” she explained. “I can see how this would bother some people, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t bother me. The photos I take are completely wholesome, with many bright colors and cute props. I don’t see how they could be used in an inappropriate way.”