Having worked as a designer for a number of years, I have used my fair share of stock photography. But I’m still shocked by some of the images that come up when you look for simple search terms like ‘healthy people’. I always feel slightly uncomfortable when scanning through images of scantily clad women and wonder what people looking over my shoulder think I’m up to! But it’s not just NSFW images that you have to worry about, there’s also the sexist way in which woman are often portrayed — see 45 most ridiculous stock photos of women.

So, I was quite pleased to read an article about how Lean In, a non-profit organisation, is working with Getty Images — with a little help from Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook — to change how women are portrayed. The two organisations have come together to create a collection of photographs that present a more empowered vision of women. The goal is to shift perceptions and portray woman in a more realistic and authentic light. It started with just 1,000 images, but is already over 3,000.

I’ve had a look through the collection and it’s a vast improvement on what most sites have offered in the past. Some of these images are still a little too posed/cheesy, but it’s a good start.

For those of us using stock images this project will help us create more rounded designs. Most of the work that we do is business-to-business, and I think that it’s really important to reflect the important strides in equality that have been made in recent years.

So, is this the end of scantily clad models in cheesy poses? Well I for one hope so!

To learn more about Lean In visit leanin.org; and to see the collection, visit gettyimages.co.uk/creative/frontdoor/leanin


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