September 9, 2017

"From Sex Object to Gritty Woman: The Evolution of Women in Stock Photos."

By Claire Cain Miller (in the NYT).
In 2007, the top-selling image for the search term “woman” in Getty Image’s library of stock photography was a naked woman lying on a bed, gazing at the camera with a towel draped over her bottom half.

In 2017, it’s a woman hiking a rocky trail in Banff National Park, alone on the edge of a cliff high above a turquoise lake. She’s wearing a down jacket and wool hat, and her face isn’t visible.

“It really feels like an image about power, about freedom, about trusting oneself,” said Pam Grossman, director of visual trends at Getty Images. “Who cares what you even look like? Let’s focus on what you’re doing.”...
I was just railing against stock photos — in "Althouse annoyed by stock photograph" — and I've started a new tag for the subject.

I'm glad to see that better stock photos are coming into vogue. The stock photo that annoyed me was one of sleazy sexualized women.

38 comments:

rhhardin said...

The down is superfluous if you have breasts.

rhhardin said...

Lactating law student was popular once.

rhhardin said...

coming into vogue.

The towel that everybody had been watching slips.

mockturtle said...

I could provide photos from the 1920's of my grandmother climbing in the Rockies. There is no 'evolution'. Women are more sexually objectified today than at any time in our history. But the NYT doesn't want facts to get in the way of an agenda.

rhhardin said...

LL Bean has to update its catalogs for the gritty look. It seems like they're using paid models instead of feminists.

Breezy said...

The choice of a particular stock photo is more about the market audience than the photo.

Gahrie said...

The stock photo that annoyed me was one of sleazy sexualized women.

I'm just glad that men are never sexualized in photos, or at all for that matter.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Is it going to be a heavily sex- and sexual politics-themed weekend at the blog? It looks like this was ramping up Friday.

I suppose it's a tiny bit better than racial politics, though.

traditionalguy said...

And the photos are not family photos anymore either, unless the designer dog counts. We have reached peak grandchildren and are going down fast on replacement kids. DACA time has come.

Saint Croix said...

From Sex Object to Gritty Woman

The arc I see is from warm to cold.

Saint Croix said...

Also

from intimate to isolated

and

from big to little

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm just glad that men are never sexualized in photos, or at all for that matter."

When they are, it's almost always by showing them as powerful, not as easy marks.

William said...

The turquoise lake in the background can be seen as a womb symbol. The woman on the peak is master of the nearly oceanic power of her womb. A man flaunting a phallic symbol is faintly ridiculous, but a woman exhilarated by the procreative powers of her womb is sublime....,,,I'd be interested in seeing the most downloaded porn image of the past year. That would be some potent click bait.

n.n said...

Athropogenic evolution in a social liberally culture from lady, wife, and mother to slut, "friend", and surrogate.

Gahrie said...

When they are, it's almost always by showing them as powerful, not as easy marks.

Women of course never use their sexuality as a form of power.

rhhardin said...

Trump running a beauty contest is an easy mark.

CStanley said...

The down is superfluous if you have breasts.

No, actually because the breasts are sensitive, you feel very cold if you don't insulate them.. It is, however, difficult to find parkas that don't look ridiculous without binding your breasts.

David said...

Well said by a woman who at one point became a stock photo.

buwaya said...

Seems to be a shift in target market.
Men like seeing pretty women naked. Or near-naked. Or just pretty.
Its quite automatic.
If thats what you want a stock photo to do, attract male attention, then the choice is obvious.
If, however, you want to attract women ... well, there are specialists in that field I understand.

Ann Althouse said...

Gahrie, 10:30 AM

Nice straw man argument.

Ann Althouse said...

"Well said by a woman who at one point became a stock photo."

Yes, exactly. Been there done that. Made no money, but I was the model, not the photographer. He made no money from it either. I am the eternal student, working with big books (books, that's a "k") late at night.

Click the "stock photos" tag to find that.

walter said...

That lesbian bar pic still stings, I see.

Birches said...

That 2007 image doesn't seem very sexualized. It seems a lot like the bra ad from yesterday, designed to appeal to other women.I'm not sure what the 2017 image is supposed to show. The person is definitely not the focal point. At a glance, it's just a random person

bagoh20 said...

How would you make a man look like an "easy mark"?

The 2007 photos is honest about "woman". It's the first word that would come to mind when viewing it. The 2017 one could be a man, so is not really a description of the word "woman". It might do for "person", but what is specifically "woman" about it? You are ill-served by that photo as a search result for the term "woman".

When I try it, I don't get anything like either one on the first page or more.

When googling "woman" and "man". It appears that the main difference is hair: how long it is and where it is. "woman" appears to mean a person with long flowing hair on her head and nowhere else. For some reason Abraham Lincoln is a typical "man".

bagoh20 said...

"Man" is represented by far less attractive individuals, except for the incredibly hot Abe.

Big Mike said...

The woman I'd adore would feel equally at home hiking near Banff on our way to the Burgess Shale as she feels lying seductively across my bed and asking whether the towel made her overdressed. Come to think of I did meet s woman like that. We've been married forty years.

Howard said...

Gahrie:"I'm just glad that men are never sexualized in photos, or at all for that matter."
Althouse:When they are, it's almost always by showing them as powerful, not as easy marks.
1) When the only thing to read in a waiting room is Esquire or Men's Health, I'm always stunned that most of the males are depicted as feminine and are additionally feminized to enhance their genetic femininity.
2) Most men are afraid of women, so the professor is correct that the sexy hot babe is staged to look ready, willing and submissive for a root. It gives hope to the helpless.

So, Gahrie is also correct about a female's sexual power being on display by making women looking vulnerable. I mean, lets get real... most guys never get close to that caliber of trim.

A guy has to either look like Brad Pitt, spent a lot of time and money courting and seducing, or be as clever as fuck (pickup artist) prior to her being in the come hither and ravish me position.

reader said...

When I saw the photo of the naked woman under the towel - sex wasn't my take away. My thoughts in order were: clean, wholesome, spa, I want a spa day.

Howard said...

Big Mike +infinity. You are showing your size privileged. Like you, I've got 36-years married to a stunning shield maiden and scary mama grizzly... it ain't easy, but the payoff is sublime.

Pettifogger said...

I write hard-boiled detective fiction and have licensed stock photos for cover art. Up to now, I've used images of the same guy who evokes my detective character. But now I'm working on a murder story in which the suspects range from the victim's adult children and their spouses to the victim's much younger bimbo. For this cover, I intend to use the oldest marketing trick in the book. The cover image will invoke not the detective but the bimbo. What you use depends on your needs.

Fernandinande said...

In 2017, it’s a woman hiking a rocky trail in Banff National Park, alone on the edge of a cliff high above a turquoise lake. She’s wearing a down jacket and wool hat, and her face isn’t visible.

That's easy to check!

getty most popular results for 'woman'; nothing much like either picture they showed. Faces shown, often playing with computers and tablets in fake clean well-lit home offices, mostly around 24-30 years old, if outside they're in the city.

Good old fNYT!

Fernandinande said...

getty most popular results for 'man'.

Almost an exact match for the "woman" photos: same age distro, same activities, same scenery.

Gahrie said...

Nice straw man argument.

Well what do you expect...I'm just a splooge stooge.

Zach said...

getty most popular results for 'woman'; nothing much like either picture they showed. Faces shown, often playing with computers and tablets in fake clean well-lit home offices, mostly around 24-30 years old, if outside they're in the city.

As always, the dominant characteristic of both categories is "nonthreatening," with second place going to "vague".

Earnest Prole said...

You say "sleazy sexualized women" like it's a bad thing.

n.n said...

This so deserves a Slut Walk, where sexy women are blissfully unaware of natural disparity, and other women look Forward between with gritted teeth.

Joe said...

Couldn't similar arguments be applied to a picture of woman hiking; that's she's simply being objectified?

tola'at sfarim said...

What are the most viewed images? What are the most viewed videos