Monday, March 17, 2014

Photo origins: Stock image edition

With some online ads it’s hard to tell whether a photo being used is real or staged.
In these examples, the photos used are stock images, with models posing for pictures.
Let’s start with some ads I saw on the Chicago Sun-Times website.
First, there’s an ad titled “Great Falls arrest records” with a presumed mug shot of a woman who looks like Katy Perry, Zooey Deschanel or Krysten Ritter.
I still don’t know who the woman is, but it’s not a real police mug shot. It’s a photo illustration from a stock photography company. It was taken by Rob Byron in December 2012 and is available through AP Images.
In addition to the “arrest records” ad, the photo has been used to illustrate articles on arrest procedure (WiseGeek), bail bonds (Family Bail Blog) and mug-shot websites (GigaOm).

Another online ad features a what-the-heck photo showing a bunch of people laying their hands on a girl’s head. It has a strange, new-age religious vibe.
The ad text says “If you don’t speak Spanish, you should see this video to learn this one sneaky linguistic trick.”
What does the photo have to do with learning a language?
Nothing. It’s a stock photo available from Shutterstock, Dreamstime and presumably other image services. The description says the photo shows a “Human robot science fiction concept.”
Speaking of science fiction, another ad titled “Probiotics – Warning” uses a photo that looks like an otherworldly creature.
Probiotics are microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed, such as the good bacteria in yogurt. However, the photo used with this ad is actually a cat flea under an electron microscope. (See articles by The Telegraph and Top Design Mag.)

I doubt that a cat flea has anything to do with probiotics.

The photo with this last ad is pretty dramatic. It shows a beautiful woman pointing a handgun in the direction of the camera.
The ad copy reads, “The Coming Collapse: The real reason why Homeland Security recently purchased 1.7 billion rounds of ammunition.” It’s an ad for a website called Patriot Survival Plan.
The photo is dramatic because it’s from a 2010 movie called “Bitch Slap.” The lovely actress is America Olivo. Unfortunately the movie wasn’t so hot, with only 31% positive reviews, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
More people have seen this still photo from the movie than the actual film itself.

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