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Hitler. In a red gingham dress. Baking.
March 29, 2011 8:49 PM   Subscribe

Sixty Unusable Stock Photos. Does what it says on the tin.
posted by rodgerd (104 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
I dunno, you could probably sell me something with number six. Not sure what though.
posted by carsonb at 8:52 PM on March 29, 2011


Rule 34 applies. Rule 34 always applies.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:55 PM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love the thought that someone, somewhere, took these and resigned themselves to the fact that 'Yea, that will do'.
posted by ZaneJ. at 8:57 PM on March 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Needs the what tag
posted by dogmom at 8:58 PM on March 29, 2011


Actually, pretty much every one of those would make a good album cover/band flyer.
posted by emjaybee at 8:59 PM on March 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's even better when you can see the original image: Awkward Stock Photos.
posted by Rickalicioso at 9:00 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Museum of Accidentally Contemporary Art
posted by theodolite at 9:00 PM on March 29, 2011 [18 favorites]



I would go to the party advertised on #20.
I would buy shaving cream from the guy in 30.
Had fun imagining the various crew working on number 43. The smoke tube guy, the flower people, Walt over in wallpaper, that special hot white straight down that the lighting tech got just right. The photographer, "And I think we got it, hold it— hold it!— YES!"
posted by carsonb at 9:00 PM on March 29, 2011


I could find a use for every one of them.

Not necessarily a good use.
posted by unSane at 9:01 PM on March 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


Hit post too soon. Was going to say, the really unusable stock photos right now are the ones with phones in them. Unless they were taken yesterday, the phone is going to look outdated. Same for computers. Just hire a photographer, people.
posted by emjaybee at 9:01 PM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think we can come up with slogans or uses for all of these. I'll start.

#1 pregnancy preparation classes.
posted by yeolcoatl at 9:01 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whenever I see something like this or read about a new WTF-type product, I like to imagine myself as a fly on the wall of that photo shoot or pitch meeting. I'm positive these situations would reveal the best examples of "What the hell--nothing to lose!" attitudes the world has ever seen.
posted by Fuego at 9:01 PM on March 29, 2011


Derp, Rickalicioso.
posted by rodgerd at 9:01 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was just getting ready to write a paper about lime disease. This one is aaaaalmost there.

Oh, my bad...
posted by phunniemee at 9:02 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's only a matter of time until #60 is a photo shoot on "America's Next Top Model". SMIZE!!!
posted by Fuego at 9:04 PM on March 29, 2011


Just calling these "unusable" is so unimaginative. We need to think of possible stories that could use them.

For example, I see this one illustrating an article in the Science section entitled "As bee population dwindles, hobbyists explore artificial pollination methods".

This one is in some glossy rag for CEOs under the headline "Machiavelli and equality."

This one appears under the words ALL YOUR NIGHTMARES ARE TRUE scrawled on the bedroom wall in what looks like blood.

And so on.
posted by No-sword at 9:05 PM on March 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


i'd go to the festival/film #20 is about
gas masks are always awesome, #21
#24 looks like its from some Peep Show/League of Gentleman style British comedy that's actually depressing
#33 is awesome. 'it was then that Bigfoot carried you'.
i think i've been to the gig in #59
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:06 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait: if these photos are so unusable, why did they bother to watermark the shit out of them?
posted by jeremy b at 9:06 PM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really, really want to go through all of them and try to fit an appropriate caption to each.
posted by codacorolla at 9:06 PM on March 29, 2011


Why pineapples? (Numbers 8 and 10, plus this one from ASP.)
posted by maudlin at 9:07 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


This post made me laugh, but it will also probably give me nightmares.
posted by birdhaus at 9:07 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pineapples are inherently awkward, I guess.
posted by yeolcoatl at 9:07 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unusable? I am so going to use some of these for class!
posted by jadepearl at 9:09 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I want a print of number 55.
posted by janepanic at 9:12 PM on March 29, 2011


Tsk, they really should have provided links to the originals. Because there is going to be someone out there who's got a problem that is exactly solved by that image.
posted by egypturnash at 9:12 PM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


La Giotongua?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:17 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Within all of our minds, there lies a place we rarely come in contact with. A dormant entity lurks throughout our thoughts and emotions quietly unnoticed - however, there are those of us who perceive this passenger and learn to accept it as a part of ourselves. Dixie Morgan is one of these perceivers. She has come to accept the fact that she shares her mind with another. Over the years Dixie has come to call this unknown entity her Dark Proctologist.
posted by codswallop at 9:21 PM on March 29, 2011 [14 favorites]


Hitler. In a red gingham dress. Baking.

Is that really supposed to be Hitler? Not sure...
posted by jeremy b at 9:26 PM on March 29, 2011


Yeah, on second look, I guess it is.
posted by jeremy b at 9:27 PM on March 29, 2011


#38. Oh god.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:27 PM on March 29, 2011


#11 might be useful for something about elder care, or death panels, or Harold and Maude.
posted by gingerest at 9:34 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


#39 was a Talking Heads video.

There are a bunch of flyers posted all my neighborhood for someone's computer repair business that have an image pretty much exactly like #17, except that in the flyers the fat hairy naked man is chewing on a laptop.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:43 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


#53...I don't...blackface...clown outfit...braces....what?
posted by LionIndex at 9:45 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


#7 - When your hairdo is pasta point of no return…

#21 - GREEDO COOKIES!

#22 - album cover for the band Flaming Berries

#25 - "I like - big - melons and I cannot lie…"

#26 - sitcom concept: "The Book of Robot Job"

#29 - cover for the next Les Claypool album

#39 - album cover for the Euro-techno-60's-soul band Electric Chocolate

#60 - album cover for the band Tween Pirates
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:48 PM on March 29, 2011


That was more what the fuck than any single page I've seen in months.
posted by loquacious at 9:56 PM on March 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've run across some of these at work. We get all sorts of photo requests for ads, so we spend a lot of time searching the stock sites. The most awesome "WTF?" photos get forwarded around.
posted by azpenguin at 9:58 PM on March 29, 2011


#12 - Fox News special segment: "When Proctologists Go Bad!" (cue screeching "Psycho"-type violins)

#36 - movie poster for "Escape From Bikini Island"

#50 - "I'm still waiting for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!"
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:59 PM on March 29, 2011


#6 Fuck Virginia, New Jersey is for lovers!
posted by cmfletcher at 10:03 PM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Isn't #18 Yoko Ono doing performance art?

(or maybe just eating breakfast; you can never really tell...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:04 PM on March 29, 2011


#13 - dreaming of his wedding day
posted by yeolcoatl at 10:04 PM on March 29, 2011


Hit post too soon. Was going to say, the really unusable stock photos right now are the ones with phones in them. Unless they were taken yesterday, the phone is going to look outdated. Same for computers. Just hire a photographer, people.

Most of these are microstock - stock photography from web based companies with low barriers of entry for contributors and who sell imagery at low prices. Making money doing microstock can be hard - a lot of people adopt a scattergun approach which accounts for a lot of the weird images - but there's one way to make a bunch of money at it, with a very simple formula: every six months submit a batch of photos of models in business type settings with whatever the most modern phones and laptops are.

$$$$$$

it's not art, but it's money.
posted by Artw at 10:06 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the one with the naked guy behind the pensive woman could help shift some rape alarms or something.

"Naked Guy behind you with a threatening look on his face? Not sure what to do? You need a rape alarm! Only $99.95"
posted by dougrayrankin at 10:06 PM on March 29, 2011


Come on, people. Find me a good caption for #28! I love that photo.
posted by yeolcoatl at 10:08 PM on March 29, 2011


"I'd hit it!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:10 PM on March 29, 2011


11 is touching.
posted by orthogonality at 10:10 PM on March 29, 2011


"...yeah but which 'Pineapple Head' stock photo do you want?"
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:11 PM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


#6 - Is that Flo from Progressive on the right?
#30 - Definitely could be used to advertise Rip Taylor's nudist colony.
#57 - Will be used as a political ad with the face of the Democratic candidate photoshopped in.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 10:14 PM on March 29, 2011


these are real nice.

#58
may be culturally inflicted suicide - fast food overgulps and the blatant headshot as result.

or it's a real suicide, the poor boy has some fungal fry growth that can't be removed (like the treeman) and there he is, trying to drink his favorite drink but he never can again, solution of course suicide.

or the boy's just a shitty multitasker, he's got all these items and he's just not sure what to do with them, so he crams all the fries in his mouth, absentmindedly holds up the drink cup, and i mean he's gotta do something with the gun so he puts it on up there - of course he has no intention of pulling the trigger because there is no trigger - look at the photo!

but why's he look so surprised I ask myself? it's because it's a brave new world that's why. those fries: yellow, his shirt: yellow, so he adorns himself in the quickest way he knows how, orally (those fries have been fried so long they don't get soggy). he thought he'd solved the problem but then he picked up the cold metallic gun and the cold metallic coca cola cup and know, with deep deep fried fry taste filling his mouth, and identical sensations from different objects in his hands, he's aghast!! the weight of the gun droops it against his head to rest there, he has no control of his movements at this point, you see how the drink cup is perfectly balanced?
posted by past at 10:19 PM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


in #28 that woman, who has a fetish for leather, is enjoying the soft touch of her loved texture on an obviously sweltering day. boxing gloves feel very nice, in fact even at high velocity they don't hurt that much, in this photo she's being stroked - a totally free person, escaping strictures of leather friction satisfaction denial. an example for us all
posted by past at 10:23 PM on March 29, 2011


#25 that man had only one wish to make and you see what he did
posted by past at 10:24 PM on March 29, 2011


My mind told me I had seen #20 actually used in something, but TinEye's results suggest it was only an earlier ironic posting.

#38: I have no idea how these people got their fucking chipmunks wedged into their scanners, or why.
posted by dhartung at 10:36 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just want to say that #13 isn't getting enough love here.
posted by gc at 10:45 PM on March 29, 2011


You know, all of these are better than Generic Happy Business People Doing Something Business-Like Now Including Token Minority!
posted by maxwelton at 10:48 PM on March 29, 2011


Artw - Yeah, that was the impression that I got too, after having read this earlier today.

For the lazy, it's an askreddit link about how to make money selling photographs. A few answers mention using stock photo sites...
posted by jpziller at 10:49 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every single one of those has "office fridge memo" written all over it.
posted by katillathehun at 11:02 PM on March 29, 2011


In all seriousness, I think #53 is probably Black Peter, among whose duties is giving candy to children.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 11:08 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]




I could find a use for every one of them.


That is what I thought as I scrolled down.

Not necessarily a good use.

But the possibilities for BAD uses are endless, and that is what I am aaaaaalll about.


I am currently imagining these as the storyboard for a movie. A movie about FOOD!
posted by louche mustachio at 11:27 PM on March 29, 2011


And sports.

And also it's a porno.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:29 PM on March 29, 2011


They'd make an interesting pack of cards for playing Dixit with.
posted by Segundus at 11:30 PM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Number 30 is the purest of art.
posted by HotPants at 11:32 PM on March 29, 2011


Dangit! dhartung totally stole my joke!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:33 PM on March 29, 2011


Hamburger Poop Hands!
posted by louche mustachio at 11:34 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


#13 - dreaming of his wedding day

That could work for the image that inspired the post title, too (i.e., #24).
posted by sharpener at 11:37 PM on March 29, 2011


I just want to say that #13 isn't getting enough love here.

"Nocturnal hair loss is no piece of cake."
posted by benzenedream at 11:42 PM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


> Come on, people. Find me a good caption for #28! I love that photo.

>> in #28 that woman, who has a fetish for leather, is enjoying the soft touch of her loved texture on an obviously sweltering day. boxing gloves feel very nice, in fact even at high velocity they don't hurt that much, in this photo she's being stroked - a totally free person, escaping strictures of leather friction satisfaction denial. an example for us all


or just "Valium".
posted by stonepharisee at 11:44 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, I love trying to guess the titles of the photos on ASP and then clicking through to the source to compare. Sometimes I get them right!

Chameleon Firefighter

Rat Businessman

A man in shirt and tie screams at a red computer monitor as his own pixelated face emerges from it (coarse pixels) and transmits binary into his eye
posted by wilberforce at 12:19 AM on March 30, 2011


DADA is alive and well and living in the minds of various strangers with cameras whether they're aware of it or not
posted by philip-random at 12:54 AM on March 30, 2011


Oh I call BS; I would use the heck out of the man sleeping in the cake.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:16 AM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Come on, people. Find me a good caption for #28! I love that photo."

I'm going to take a page from The Monkeys You Ordered and go with "It looks like I'm happily sleeping, but really I am being punched in the face."
posted by iamkimiam at 1:19 AM on March 30, 2011


Uh...the naked man hiding behind the fridge door, having his cat sniff his carrot...I don't know what to say.

(but I'll stop commenting now and walk away, wondering.)
posted by iamkimiam at 1:23 AM on March 30, 2011


what's wrong with fish nun?
posted by the noob at 1:56 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


#36 Escape from Gitmo - the movie poster

also, hitler is peeling potatos not baking.
posted by marienbad at 2:43 AM on March 30, 2011


I've actually seen the original sheet cake pillow man photo. I've become so jaded with the internets that I can't remember where or in what context.
posted by klarck at 4:18 AM on March 30, 2011


Pfft. Most of these are just ads to either do fewer (illicit) or more (dementia) drugs.
posted by dflemingecon at 4:33 AM on March 30, 2011


Isn't #18 Yoko Ono doing performance art?

I was kind of thinking Cindy Sherman, if she just had her face turned towards the camera.

#29 seems to be a fugu (blowfish) playing Taiko no Tatsujin.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:50 AM on March 30, 2011


Aw, #21 found his mummy.
posted by pemberkins at 5:02 AM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


They forgot this one. Aye caramba.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:03 AM on March 30, 2011


I used #56 for about a year to torture a coworker with a fear of Dwarves.
posted by Mcable at 5:21 AM on March 30, 2011


Missing these ones, for when you need to illustrate international affairs and football.
posted by msbrauer at 5:52 AM on March 30, 2011


My precious! My precious!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:59 AM on March 30, 2011


#11: "Try to take the bear again. Just try it. I will headbutt the shit out of you, Jimmy. I've been taking calcium supplements since I was fifty, and my skull is like a goddamned bowling ball made out of Kevlar and your tears. I will end you."
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:00 AM on March 30, 2011


The cake pillow guy's doppelganger. (via reddit)
posted by the other side at 6:10 AM on March 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


I want to think of myself as being above finding things "WTF", but you can't always get what you want.
posted by Beardman at 6:14 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one that saw this, and was immediately reminded of this recent FPP?
posted by antifuse at 6:37 AM on March 30, 2011


Number 5 looks like a modern take on a classic Renaissance theme.

Provide your own erotic undercurrent as necessary.
posted by gimonca at 6:37 AM on March 30, 2011


So help me, I found a use for #38.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:44 AM on March 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Unusable? What do you mean with "unusable"?

Someone created a frigging website to showcase these photos. And probably paid shutterstock, gettyimages etc. real money to use them. Or if no money changed hand, then at least they are getting loads of traffic for free and possibly also paying customers through the site.
posted by sour cream at 6:51 AM on March 30, 2011


These are hilarious. As someone who was a magazine art director for well over a decade, I have spent many hours looking at stock photos & have come across some pretty bizarre images. But these take the cake! And man, do I miss the days of a nice custom photography budget!
posted by DizzyLeaf at 6:59 AM on March 30, 2011


Actually, pretty much every one of those would make a good album cover/band flyer.

#20 reminded me of the cover of Roxy Music's Country Life [Danger: boobies]
posted by kirkaracha at 7:38 AM on March 30, 2011


You know that SNL skit where Tom Brokaw is coming up with every possible way Gerald Ford could've died over the summer, so he can go on vacation? I think that's the stock photography business in a nutshell.

If only there were a picture of a photographer in a nutshell to accompany this post.
posted by condour75 at 7:42 AM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


My company genetically modifies corn. #34 is so my new Gmail picture.
posted by maryr at 7:52 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ages ago, when you had to buy clip art in overpriced CD sets, I convinced work to buy me some. About 3/4 of them were similar to these. And many seemed to be Scandinavian-specific. Maybe they aren't unusable as much as...European?
posted by JoanArkham at 7:55 AM on March 30, 2011


Can somebody explain how this industry works? A lot of these photos look like they would take a lot of money and time to set up. How does that work? I mean, I can see producing tons of photos in the hopes that one of them sells, but it seems like the rate of return would be too low to spend the kind of time that it looks like they did on these photos.

These stock photo companies: Do they hire photographers and own studios and produce these photos? Or are they clearinghouses who buy photos from random photographers? Like, did these end up here because the company was like "By gum, we need a photo of a boxing guy in a little girl's bedroom!" or was that photo taken by some photographer for some purpose, and the client didn't want it so they sold it to a stock photo company?

Basically, what?
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 8:04 AM on March 30, 2011


I guess people must have different values of "unusable" because I'm totally sending some of these out as my Christmas photos this year.

54 in particular seems to capture my inner "me"

I'm thinking of captioning it "Drinking of you this holiday season!" or "Orange you glad I didn't forget to send you this card?" or "I'm gagging and retching on rancid holiday frivolity!" or something like that.
posted by quin at 8:08 AM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Extortion letter from Getty Images in 3...2...1...
posted by squalor at 9:05 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


AQUA NUN

I first considered an Aqua Nun mefi sock puppet but now I want to throw my old life away and BECOME Aqua Nun.
















AQUA NUN
posted by fleetmouse at 9:15 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Basically, what?
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 11:04 AM


I also would like to know just why/how the hell these photos are created. Someone on Metafilter must know! TELL ME!
posted by orme at 9:16 AM on March 30, 2011


Well, orme, when light passes through a lens onto a photosensitive substrate or sensor...
posted by maryr at 9:18 AM on March 30, 2011


#13: See, he just had the cake, so he can't eat it too.

... but maybe a sandwich...
posted by Kabanos at 9:20 AM on March 30, 2011


oh thanks!
posted by orme at 9:20 AM on March 30, 2011


I swear I've seen #30 somewhere before. Not on one of these sites either. Like, on a stupid poster in a NJ boardwalk tshirt shop in the 80s or something.
posted by orme at 9:23 AM on March 30, 2011


54 in particular ... I'm thinking of captioning it "Drinking of you this holiday season!"

I'm sorry, but the only allowable caption for that is WHARRGARBL.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:07 AM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Basically, what?

Stock photography websites are basically places for photographers to submit their images... They act as the middle man for people looking to buy stock photos. I can't *imagine* what some photographers were thinking in submitting these shots though. Wow.
posted by antifuse at 12:08 PM on March 30, 2011


I love the man with the front-butt. I love him. Love him. I am going to use this picture as my desktop. I am also going to send it to all my friends every day.
posted by millipede at 12:31 PM on March 30, 2011


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