I very much liked this Jonathan Kay piece, which has so many good, interesting, and separate points, here is one of them:
“One of the most important elements of the Shutterstock quality-control process is to ensure there are no logos or other brand identifiers,” she told me. “Nor can the photos contain identifiable people or locations which haven’t released their legal rights.” The blackouts here can be extremely broad, and include some of the most famous landmarks on the planet. You can’t include the Eiffel Tower in most forms of stock photography, for instance. Nor can you include anyone wearing the iconic beige-and-blue Burberry pattern. Even a tiny patch of it in the background renders an image completely unusable.
Click through the Shutterstock database, and you find that professionally shot and curated stock photos invariably exhibit what might be called calculated soullessness. The subjects project human emotions—happy, sad, confused, angry—but in a simple, one-dimensional way. There should be nothing bespeaking a complex inner life. Real human interest always will distract the audience from the intended product or idea.
How does a photographer achieve authenticity in an age where authentic culture increasingly is built around irony? More broadly: Is the project of organizing human experience into databases of generic happy faces and sad faces still relevant to us in 2016?
Alas, I can no longer remember to whom I owe the pointer, my apologies.
File under Those New Service Sector Jobs. And if that doesn’t suit you, here is “Calling all ‘bulky’ Alec Baldwin lookalikes”.