Stock Photography : Barbie Does Business

Images are a critical element of any type of business communications. From branding, internal comms, external comms, online marketing, PR and Advertising – they all rely on images to assist copy in pushing a message across, a good image catches the eye of a perspective customer first. So why do business` choose stock photography?

Many business websites, and business marketing in general, are made to look ‘professional’ by using US stock images. These can be paid for online and have all the originality of a football player getting snapped on the beach in Majorca. They are stale, the subjects themselves have been forced to pose in stomach turning positions, faking extra large smiles and making a mockery of customer business relations.

If you look through a stock image site, you will find a hive of sexism, racism, ageism, and any other ism you can think of – all coated with a fluffy veneered representation of what people are actually like. Most are laughably fake. The people in many images look like they’ve never done a day’s business in their life. In fact, the awkward posture in some of the ‘at the desk writing shots’ almost make me feel like the model doesn’t know how to hold a pen.

In this image in front of me, the female is wearing a very short santa dress, covered in twinkly, sparkly bits, kissing a chisel jawed work colleague (possibly Stan from American Dad), while sitting on his knee at a fake office party. This image has a purely white background, so it can be cut out in Photoshop, I guess – where would an image like this belong? Who thinks this is a clear representation of how people in offices spend Christmas, or indeed, that this is how they want to be represented? This is listed under `Business Christmas,` Shouldn’t it be listed under `Business porn?` Yes, this should be the new category for most stock images.

In reality, you wouldn’t find a group of people, with extra white teeth, linking arms, looking like they’ve just been given the gift of eternal life. You would find people talking quite seriously about specific plans and ideas, half of them looking slightly tired from working hard. I wonder how this strange world of unrealistic representations of everyday life became popular? and if the photographs were developed to meet the needs of business`, or indeed, business` have fallen in to the trap of competing with other websites with the same glorified image of reality. I thought business was about acumen and people knowing their job, not `Barbie does Business.`

Look at this one for example – A female with a sexy leg – this represents what? someone please let me know!

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