Stock photos have become, well, a laughingstock. Meme-makers took note of their cheesy artificial poses and the strange proliferation of certain cliche scenarios (how many photos of men in business suits hugging teddy bears can one photo bank require? A lot, it turns out) and have been compiling them into amusing collages of absurdity.
It started with women laughing alone with salad, and went on to include women struggling to drink water, babies being “cooked” in pots, and men laughing alone with fruit. They took note of the creepiest stock photos (what possible story could be illustrated with that photo of Hitler in a dress peeling potatoes?). A trend called “stocking” briefly emerged, for which people would try to recreate the most cliched stock photography.
Now this, from Getty Images: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. The company, thanks to AlmapBBDO, has harnessed the viral power of its stock photography library to create a one-minute video that threads the cliche images into something emotional and meaningful.
The video, ”From Love to Bingo,” uses 873 images — 15 per second — to wordlessly tell the story of love, marriage, and a life well-lived. According to a caption on the video’s YouTube page, “Copywriter Sophie Schoenburg and art director Marcus Kotlhar worked 6 months researching images, improving the script and building each scene so they would not only be understood, but would also touch viewers. Sometimes, for example, a scene would look perfect on paper, but the images chosen to depict it were not sufficient or did not perfectly match up to offer the right movement and sense. And hence the research had to be restarted.”
“From Love to Bingo” has completed the ultimate coup: It’s made people take stock images more seriously. “I've now watched the thing four times, and still can't see it without getting chills,” wrote Megan Garber of the Atlantic. It’s also harnessed its own viral conversation, instead of just reacting to memes other people make about stock images. And it worked: The video has gone viral, approaching 2 million views on YouTube. “From Love to Bingo” took stock photography from meme to metaphor, and from parody to praise.