Springing from the legacy of the baby boomers and ending up in the media-focused world of Generation X, we are fully aware of our responsibility as a distributor of royalty-free images. We have been moving within the world of advertising images for 17 years now and have learned a lot during this time, both as people and as a stock photo agency.
A look at advertising images of the last few years reveals a very obvious problem: the dominance of the cisgender man in advertising: in his prime, wealthy, handsome, white … privileged.
A picture of reality
Admittedly, it took many voices – online, offline, through demonstrations and Instagram Stories – before this problem reached the masses. After the murder of African American George Floyd and the peaceful and violent protests that followed, the perception of the privileged white man has finally spread throughout the Western world, but much too late and at a far too high price. What we have all too often taken for granted as common knowledge, emotional intelligence, and an absolute matter of course is suddenly no longer a matter of course at all. Social injustice is an everyday problem, not only in America, but also here. It is unconscious, unobserved, and far too often unpunished.
Above all this stands the privileged, white cisgender man. He is probably the one who is least affected by this injustice, if not totally unaffected. His female counterpart continues to struggle hard in our society – which the coronavirus pandemic has made clear once again.
Diversity in advertising
In our research, we came across the views of LOOMIS. LOOMIS is an American agency, which sat down with the goal of convincing underdogs to think laterally and take new paths in marketing and advertisement. In their blog post from last February, „What diversity in advertising means“ they described the circumstances that are currently found in the US. The blog post notes that despite the massive, mainstream influence of black pop culture, as well as influence in sports and media, American marketers seem to be stuck. In 2019, black Americans accounted for only 1% of leadership management and 5% of agency employees nationwide – we repeat: nationwide!
Images of responsibility
The events surrounding May 25, as well as the murder of Breonna Taylor and most recently the shooting in the black of father of four, Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, have not only driven people to the streets, but they have also driven large and small businesses to rethink. It is now up to all of us, as a society in all its facets, to let this stone continue to roll and fight for social justice. So what can we as a photo agency do? We can use our expertise to promote more diversity in the visual world of contemporary advertising. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight our Lightboxes on the topics “Diversity” and “Change.” The white, privileged cisgender man may now use his somewhat reduced time in the spotlight to instead reflect: How can I use my privileges to ensure greater social justice?
So what can we as a photo agency do? We can use our expertise to promote more diversity in the visual world of contemporary advertising. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight our Lightboxes on the topics „Diversity“ and „Change.“ The white, privileged cisgender man may now use his somewhat reduced time in the spotlight to instead reflect: How can I use my privileges to ensure greater social justice?