Lean In and Getty Images Team Up to Revise the Empowered Woman in Stock Photography

February 13, 2014

By Jacqueline Tobin

Stock photographers should perk up their ears to this bit of news announced a few days ago: Lean In, an organization that aims to further the empowerment of women, has teamed up with Getty Images to revise how women are represented in stock photos.

When searching for terms like “powerful women,” “businesswomen,” “working women” or “feminism” in pools of stock photography, many of the images that pop up are what some people consider to be bothersome or even offensive — women donning boxing gloves, climbing a ladder in business attire and holding power tools in minimal clothing are just a few examples.

In an interview with NYMag.com, Jessica Bennett, LeanIn.org’s editor, explained that the revised photos in this project aim to give a new, genuine, diverse and true face to the women represented in stock photography. “No one is doing that hunched over, arms forward fashion pose,” she say. “We wanted stuff that felt authentic and not cheesy. And there are no women climbing ladders.”

The battle to revise these photos should be music to the ears of photographers who too have the same goal of shooting “authentic” portraits of women, but who perhaps thought their work would not fit within the stock photo community. Equally, it will be interesting to see whether current stock photographers who don’t necessarily take this approach will feel the need to change their methods.

Getty started a couple of grants, one of which offers $10,000 to a photographer willing to dedicate a project to taking more empowering shots of women (Getty will begin accepting applications for the grant on April 1 and close the process on May 15, 2014).

Ten percent of the revenue will go to the Lean In foundation every time someone chooses one of their 2,500+ images. Check out more of these new feminist photos below.