We at Bored Panda love corny dad jokes as much as absurd stock photos, so we were thrilled when we discovered an online community that puts the two together.
It’s called r/YouDontSurf and the subreddit has 378k members. They’re constantly adding funny subtitles to pictures they find on websites like Shutterstock or 123RF, and the combinations they create are so bad, they’re actually kinda good.
From a guy sitting in front of a river, watching a live stream, to parents who can’t stand their annoying kids, continue scrolling and check out some of this subreddit’s most popular posts.
The Perfect Date
Stock photographers specialize not just in imagery, but in sentiment prediction: they anticipate people’s needs.
One of these photographers is Heather Barnes. She bought her first DSLR in 2014 and immediately started shooting flowers and portraits. “When I moved to Austin, and didn’t know anyone, I took an online food photography course and started photographing everything I was baking,” she told Bored Panda.
“I fell in love with it and while I was building my website I used Unsplash to see how my portfolio would appear on a future website that I would create. I ended up leaving them up on Unsplash, and it’s created a lot of opportunities for my photography business.”
What A Bastard
Barnes explained that stock images are generic photos created without a specific idea in mind that anyone can license for creative use.
“They are typically shot to appeal to many different people, with the intention of being able to use them on many platforms. When I photograph stock images, I think, ‘What type of article could these be licensed for and what can I avoid that could restrict its use?'”
But as you can see from our list, stock images can climb to impressive heights of silliness if you take them at face value.
“I think there are a lot of photographers uploading as many photos as possible to see what sticks,” Heather Barnes, who also showcases her work on Instagram, added. “It doesn’t cost anything to upload more, and who knows what will go viral these days. While everyone is trying to stand out on social media, a weird, scroll-stopping image isn’t a bad thing. I say, bring on the absurd!”
Honesty Is The Best Policy
And she definitely has a point. Take Shutterstock for example. It launched in 2003 and has grown steadily since then, bolstered by the explosion of web publishing. On the Internet, there is always text in need of decoration. The site offers a library of over 300 million images, with 200,000 more added every day.
As its own kind of inside-out media organization, Shutterstock has developed a market-prediction strategy but it does that without any dirty algorithms. Instead, according to Scott Braut, the company’s former VP of content, it provides its contributors with tools like keyword trends and popular searches so they “can find out what people are looking for and when.”
This Is Golden
One thing that unites stock images, said Jason Winter, a Virginia-based teacher, web designer, and part-time Shutterstocker, is the “unique perspective” presented in the composition of the photos.
Winter explained that when shooting a stock photo, you want to think not just about capturing an image, but also about creating a product that will visually pop, particularly against the white backdrop of a website.
By “twisting a photo just a bit and making it appear three-dimensional,” for example, ensuring that your shot contains a well-defined foreground and background, you can create an image that will embody a stock photo’s other-worldly appeal.
However, there’s also the cultural sensibility of the stock photo. Life, as told through the stock image, is usually beautified and sanitized and occasionally dominated by camisole-clad ladies holding things.
It is unapologetic because it knows that it has its own particular style. One that, meme-like, is incredibly easy to replicate.
Any Doctor Here?
Getting Back To Nature
In the early-to-mid 1900s, stock photography images were basically leftovers from commercial assignments, usually referred to as ‘outtakes’ or ‘seconds.’ Stock image libraries and agencies cataloged the images and sold them for purchase and republication in ads, books, annual reports, and the like.
As time passed, however, customers realized they could save considerable time and money by using stock images instead of hiring a photographer for an assignment.
As Shutterstocker Emily Goodwin said, now it’s not necessarily the traditionally “pretty” stuff that sells well on the site.
No, it’s often the utilitarian content (images that capture the banalities and absurdities of everyday life) that proves to be popular.
Delivering The Baby
Waiting For The Bus
Science Is Just Theories
Don’t Forget The Most Important Thing Before Taking A Dump
Note: this post originally had 58 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.