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Everyone Will Be Lonely Eight Months From Now

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Slate’s Everyone Will Be Lonely Eight Months From Now: The weird science of stock photography, notes the somewhat disturbing phenomenon of stock photography shops potentially trendsetting the nation’s mood.

A while back, a friend of mine—a guy who does a lot of directing work—was asked to shoot some rather odd film footage. It was all brief scenes of people ignoring each other. Families talking on cell phones, couples tapping at adjacent laptops, everyone looking in opposite directions.

These vignettes were commissioned by a company that sells stock photos and video to various clients—including, in large part, advertisers. The hope was that footage like this would appeal to customers who need to visually convey a mood of modern disconnectedness. Leaving aside the bleak and omnipresent nature of the subject matter—they could have just put a tripod on a random street corner—I was startled to realize that stock photo and video purveyors actually create material in anticipation of demand.

Consider the plight of the stock photo marketer at the mercy of the modern newscycle.

“We had a bad day when Dolly was cloned,” says Denise Waggoner, vice president of creative research at Getty. “We hadn’t been studying biotechnology, and suddenly everyone wanted a shot of 25 sheep on a seamless white background. So now we try to keep our toes dipped in the water in lots of different fields, so we can be ready.”

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Category: journalism, photographers

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