Nearly one in five people have a disability, but just 2% of publicly available imagery depicts their lives. Today, Getty, one of the leading stock photography online providers, wants to change that and vows to promote disability inclusion.
The world of stock photography is somewhat surreal: a bunch of good-looking, over smiling, people doing their thing in a perfect world. And that is why most people, myself included, dislike stock images. They are just not representative of our everyday struggle.
I am not a fan of Getty. Because I am not a fan of stock imagery, preferring original content created for specific needs. But there is a need, I will admit to that. And now, Getty will be my destination of choice when I need to rely on stock photography. Why?
Because they care: one in five people have a disability, but just 2% of publicly available imagery depicts their lives. And even when they do, they don’t do it right, as explained by Rebecca Swift, Getty Images’ director of visual insights:
“In the stock photo world, images of people with disabilities tend to cluster at two poles. They’re either depicted as superhuman, or super pathetic. There doesn’t seem to be that broad range that you get with able-bodied people.”
Getty partnered with the National Disability Leadership Alliance and Oath, a company working to increase accessibility in tech, to launch The Disability Collection, a new subcategory of Getty images, featuring people with disabilities in everyday settings.
Of course, Getty’s decision is also backed by data: searches for “wheelchair access” were up 371% from 2016 to 2017, and autism-related searches climbed 434%. It could no longer be ignored.