Stock photography: the good, the bad, and the bizarre

Stock image sites have always played a role in the creative process—but with large photo productions off the table due to COVID-19, they’ve recently become our saviors. Convenient, cost-effective, and most importantly, safe, stock photography is now an essential part of almost every form of communication. But stock can also be a trip down a rabbit hole of visual oddities. There’s plenty of well-lit, professionally-captured “good stock.” And then there’s the posed, inauthentic “bad stock.” But there’s also a third category: the head-tilting, question-raising, universe-warping “odd stock.” Like life, if you question the meaning of one of an “odd stock” photo too much, you go a little insane. The best thing to do when faced with the incomprehensible is laugh. And show your coworkers, so they can laugh too.

Here at Bolin, we’ve chosen to take this one step further.

Introducing: Laughing Stock

Laughing Stock is an ongoing challenge to Bolin writers to make sense of the nonsensical, or at least make the nonsensical funny. The challenge starts with Bolin art directors and designers diving deep into online image libraries in search of bizarre, odd, uncomfortable stock photos. The best of the worst (or is it the worst of the best?) images are then passed to the writers for wordsmithing and funny-making. Make sense? We don’t think so either. But that’s what makes it fun. Right?

We’ll post the results regularly under #laughingstock. Check us out on Instagram @bolinagency to follow along.

[Here’s our first Laughing Stock image. Who would have thought to photograph a person wearing a welding mask at a computer? We don’t know. But we want to meet them.]


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