We need diversity in stock photos – The Seahawk


Diversity in modeling, especially for stock photos, was not something I considered until I started working in journalism. For many online and print publications like The Seahawk, multimedia is used alongside written text in an article, which often includes stock photography. There are many websites that offer free and subscription stock photography, but one thing they don’t have much on any site is the diversity.

A quick Google search for people in stac photographyhthere will bring many photos; most people on stock photography websitesbut, watch the same. If I look for photos for people, the first images that appear are thin, white people. Research couples raises almost exclusively heterosexual couples and couples presenting a man/a woman. Persons with disabilities rarely appear in searches of stock photographs unless specified.

I have to search “people ohf color » or “LgLV” for stock photography if I want to see more performance. Even then, the options are limited and don’t bring as many results as just typing “people” (which would lend itself to the majority and little variety in the templates).

This is a problem in many ways.

On the one hand, it hinders my writing. When I write an article, I want to find a photo that complements my article. It is not enough to write the article; the photo must also tell the story. It’s the first thing people see when they look at articles. Photography is crucial in the storytelling process. So if I’m writing about TV shows featuring people of color in the lead or gay-friendly books, I want photos that represent that topic. But how good can I tell a story if my options for photography are limit?

The second reason, and perhaps the most important, is that representation simply matters. We live in a diverse world. If I have to specify that I’m looking for a non-white person to get a photo of a person of color, as opposed to people of different races showing up, when I’m doing a general searching is a problem. This means that there is a standard. There is a standard that readers think people look, talk, act, and behave in certain ways.

We still live in a world where there is one dominant group of people, and everyone is seen as “other”. And it’s not something that’s purely the fault of stock photographers; it is a social problem. It will take more than adding inclusivity to photography to dismantle the systems that marginalize people.

But stock photography can help add diversity to the worldand some of them have. Some websites focus specifically on the diversity for free stock photos or make a better try to include diversity in the first photo search. There is progress; we just need to do more more often.

Getting people of color to appear more often in photography is progress. Showing homosexual couples is progress. Taking pictures of models with different morphologies that do not all look alike is progress. It’s going to take some time, and it’s going to have to involve people working behind the cameras to be different themselves, not people from the same or similar groups of people. It’s going to take a long time to make this change, but it’s a worthwhile change for me.

Not only will this enhance content that uses photography, but it will also send a subtle but important message to readers: everyone matters.


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