We all know that “a picture is worth a thousand words” — the right image will communicate far better than any “wall of text.” But it’s not always feasible (or fiscally responsible) to hire a photographer and models for a custom photo shoot; so designers look to image libraries, which license use of professional work, at a fraction of the cost.
It’s an amazing tool, with some spectacular photographic art available — but like anything, there are cons to go with the pros.
The best and biggest stock photo libraries are known to designers the world over. With everyone drinking from the same well, some overlap is bound to occur. And human nature being what it is, when those photos are of an unreasonably attractive person in a wide variety of poses and settings — well, that person is suddenly going to be everywhere.
The result is that someone can be world famous without anyone even knowing their name. (Hers is Ariane, for the record. She has a Facebook fan page and at least one Tumblr devoted to posting ads with her in it.)
Like any art form, stock photography has developed a sort of shorthand — scenes, situations, and such that people immediately recognize. That super-utility means such images become cliches of the medium.
Others are just kind of weird.
Inevitably, overexposure and cliches will merge into a kind of Kafka-esque Stock Photo Convergence. E.g.: Here is Ariane, who apparently enjoys private time with salad as much as any other woman.
There’s probably a bunch of photos of her with apples, too.
Rigney Graphics is a Pasadena graphic arts company that can help you create an impact with design and marketing solutions for print and web.