Image Overhaul: Fewer Stock Photos Of Straight White Males

Getty Images has partnered with Canon Australia to launch 'This Is Australia,' in a bid to be more reflective of our population -- but the series overlooks one large minority group.

It's fair to say most media and advertising professionals have accessed Getty Images. The stock photo powerhouse has more than 80 million photographs - both editorial and creative.

If you search "Australian boy" or "Sydney corporate office" in their stock photo range, you'll get a plethora of photos of Anglo Australians.

Yet, rarely will you see images beyond stereotypes -- an overwhelming majority are fit, young, white and straight.

To address this deficit, Getty and Canon have launched an inclusive photography campaign, called 'This is Australia'. It features more than 5000 stock images that aim to represent a variety of ethnically and religiously diverse people.  The snaps were also captured by more than 200 independent photographers.

The photo series includes Indigenous families, same sex relationships, women working in male dominated industries and middle aged, overweight Aussies.

And while disability groups applaud the move, they can't help but notice they have been left out of the collection.

First, let's take a look at some of the new stock images now available.

The Muslim Surfer In A 'Burkini'
An Indigenous Mother And Son
Tackling Ageism: An Older Surfer
Diverse Girls Can And Do Play Footy
Tackling Gender Stereotypes Of Work
Capturing Same Sex Relationships
Disability Groups Say They Are Still Being Forgotten

One in five Australians live with a disability, yet if you search 'disability' in the new diversity range, the photo that comes up is -- of a bird.

“We welcome Getty Images work on creating more diverse photo stock that shows what Australia looks like in 2018 -- let’s just make sure people with a disability are part of it too,"  Graeme Innes, former Disability Discrimination Commissioner and Chairperson of the Attitude Foundation said.

Earlier this year the Attitude Foundation ran the #AttitudeChallenge, calling on people with disability to share their photos of what life is really like.

The not for profit organisation was inundated with photos - from kids swinging off the backyard clothesline to friends out at the pub to a woman with intellectual disability looking after her beloved nephews.

“We go to the cricket and the beach, head to work and manage all of the everyday stuff too, like wrangling kids, paying the bills and doing the laundry .. if there are no photos of us, it is like we do not exist.”

These are the types of images need to be in stock galleries, and we’d love to work with Getty and photographers to get them produced and widely available. ”

Ten daily contacted the visual communication company and a spokesperson said in May they launched a global disability project -- and their open to adding photos of this kind to 'This is Australia'.

"Absolutely, in partnership with Oath, Getty Images developed a comprehensive set of guidelines on how to authentically reflect people with disabilities in photography, that has been shared and promoted across Getty Images’ global network of photographers, including in Australia."

READ MORE: #FatAtFashionWeek Highlights Body Diversity At NYFW

In an earlier press release the Getty Images creative research editor, Petra O’Halloran, said, “We are calling for the industry to take stereotyping and misrepresentation more seriously and to work more consciously to include representations of Australia’s diverse population."

The call follows new research from Getty which revealed 76% of Australians believe brands need to do more to ensure images of Australians reflect real life.

"This research doesn’t surprise us as it echoes our keyword search data. Creative white-washing is prevalent and socially harmful," O’Halloran said.

The stock photo giant surveyed over 1,000 Australians to better understand how representation of modern identities is perceived within brand marketing.

Research encouraged respondents to identify characteristics that they found to be poorly represented, including body type 50 percent, ethnicity percent, religious beliefs percent, sexual orientation percent and age percent.

Photo submissions are open for the 'This Is Australia' collection until 31 December 2018.

Contact the author

Featured Image: Getty Images

Antoinette Lattouf is the Director of Media Diversity Australia.