Stock photography has officially achieved critical mass in the absurdity department. I grant you, stock photographers are as much instruments of the marketplace as any other professional service provider and are therefore subject to the whims of the focus groups, the advertising big wigs, the ebb and flow of the dollars that keep them knee-deep in lenses and strobes. But when was the last time you saw a product advertised by a stock photograph and thought to yourself, That could totally be me in that picture?

There you are, holding a slice of kiwi in front of each eye, like any normal Tuesday, right? You look so happy about this kiwi you could make a coke addict jealous. The look on your face is one of such unbridled joy, such boundless euphoria, it would be hard for any bystander not to want your life at that moment.

Dear stock photographers… Quit it!

I’m not going to try to say that pictures of women ecstatically eating salad, men jumping up in the air in business suits, or families in pastel clothing not looking at each other are unnecessary or devoid of value. Quite to the contrary, if the market demands photos of people just about to take a bite of something delicious with a look of drug-induced bliss on their perfectly lit faces, that is what the market shall receive.

No, I’m only saying, really, seriously, don’t we have enough of these yet? Where’s the originality, where’s the inspiration? Where’s the creativity, people?!

The ad agencies are just as much to blame for this, flipping through their iStockPhoto dot coms and their Getty libraries and always choosing the group of conveniently diverse people huddled around a clipboard with blank paper on it instead of something, oh I don’t know, realistic.

Cracked does a phenomenal job of pointing out just how ridiculous and profuse some of these archetypical images have become, in the article linked below. Just a word of warning: there is some coarse language, which is uncommon for my blog, and is the only reason I mention it.

Have you run across some ridiculous stock photography lately? Do you make ridiculous stock photography? Leave a comment and tell us all about it.