The Gender Spectrum Collection: Stock Photos Beyond the Binary
March 26, 2019 8:55 PM   Subscribe

Why We Created a Gender-Inclusive Stock Photo Library: Because only 16 percent of Americans say they know a transgender person, the majority of Americans understand what it means to be trans through the media they consume, making media imagery depicting transgender people particularly significant. [...] Broadly’s Gender Spectrum Collection aims to help media better represent trans and non-binary people who are not necessarily defined by their gender identities, but rather as human beings with careers, relationships, talents, passions, and internal lives—people you see at the office, at school, in your home.
posted by Nyrha (21 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
This is great! Thank you for posting. I am often looking for photos of people to use in my teaching materials, and I try for as much diverse representation as possible. This will help a lot.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:52 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]

This is really lovely!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:29 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]

Wow. This is such an incredible thing, and such a simple idea.

I had many thoughts I wanted to add here, but this is a good thing without waving the plate of beans around...
posted by prismatic7 at 12:03 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]

Also have a bunch of thoughts but they boil down to “this is a great thing” and I hope there are ways to grow the image set.
posted by J.R. Hartley at 1:05 AM on March 27

This is brilliant.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:41 AM on March 27

posted by PistachioRoux at 4:08 AM on March 27

#1. These are great generic shots.
#2. These are subtle in a - wow this will make folks not do a doubletake and change their impressions over time.
#3. Looking at them makes me say, 'so what? Who can't relate to these?' meaning these are made so well they are generic enough that Mr. Whitey McPatriarchy still should feel included in these photos (I at least do).
#4. On the one, all I can focus on is that my birth year is sufficiently old enough to make a trendy, possibly ironic T-shirt... which is disheartening.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:27 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]

Lots of representation of trans people of colour, Creative Commons licensed... This is excellent, I've sent it to a bunch of my trans academic friends.
posted by Dysk at 5:15 AM on March 27

These are so nice, and it's fucked up how rare and moving it is to see representations of trans folks just living our lives.
posted by ITheCosmos at 5:21 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]

This is great, thank you for posting.
posted by wicked_sassy at 5:27 AM on March 27

This is a good idea, but as a photographer I'm disappointed in the choice to go with royalty free/creative commons licensing. I don't see royalty free mentioned on the library website, but the photo editor used the term when she posted about it on instagram yesterday. It's bad for photographers trying to make a living, but in the case of particularly sensitive issues, strict rights management helps protect the people in the photos.

There's a disclaimer in the "recommended usage" guidelines that says, "As with all stock photos, we ask that you use images without identifiable faces for stories on sensitive topics such as sexual health, crime, violence, and mental health." but that is not the case with all stock photos and is not stipulated in the Creative Commons language nor is there any other language I can find that binds the end user to doing that. Just a recommendation and a request.

When I license a photo to a client, my contract stipulates that my photos can't be used in pornographic, offensive, or defamatory usage scenarios, and managing my copyright is what allows me to do that.

If they still want to allow people to use the photos without compensating the photographer (I'm still baffled by why working photographers want to do this) it's easy enough to write up a generic license that allows unlimited perpetual usage in specific scenarios (non-commercial, non-derivative, with attribution in this case) with an additional binding stipulation that identifiable photos not be used to illustrate sensitive topics. Set up a user account system and make users agree to that contract in order to sign up and have download access. Photographer keeps the rights, publishers get to use the photos for free, models are protected.
posted by msbrauer at 6:06 AM on March 27 [9 favorites]

I can't wait to use these! Love, love, love them! (also, more please!)
posted by Sophie1 at 6:38 AM on March 27

i'm a totally cishet white woman. i felt so much relief upon seeing these. "whoa hold on NORMAL PEOPLE who LOOK LIKE PEOPLE I KNOW"

i am not the target demo here as i do not advertisting or use of stock, but it was SO NICE to see REAL FREAKING PEOPLE.

that said, i can't imagine being a nonbinary POC and seeing these amazing images. i hope i see them out in the wild soon. what a world we live in! there is a lot wrong but things like this make it just tiny bit better for everyone :)
posted by sio42 at 7:19 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]

If they still want to allow people to use the photos without compensating the photographer (I'm still baffled by why working photographers want to do this)

This is possibly one of the only times in history where the specific goal of the project is "exposure" for the work, so it makes total sense for it to be free.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 7:42 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]

This is really great, and while I don't often use stock photography, I'll remember this collection when I do. Definitely check out the companion piece, Reflecting on Our Own Use of Trans and Non-Binary People In Stock Images if you haven't done so. It really brings up some fascinating questions and perspectives. What do we even mean when we say "a picture of a man"? There is so much privilege wrapped up in that simple statement.

Thank you so much for posting this!
posted by Rock Steady at 7:58 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]

Unironically love how the stock photos include a ouija board and tarot cards.
posted by noxperpetua at 10:04 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]

These are so great. Thanks for the post!
posted by bile and syntax at 11:45 AM on March 27

Noxperpetua, yes, they understand well that these are standard trans activities. Work, school, romance, tarot. They left out astrology, but that is harder to visually represent. (Also, as a person who’s identified as both, I feel astrology is a bit more culturally cis queer and tarot a bit more culturally trans?)

I’m here for the loving couple with the excellent hair.
posted by thesmallmachine at 12:51 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]

If they still want to allow people to use the photos without compensating the photographer (I'm still baffled by why working photographers want to do this)

Maybe I’m not following you, but I donate my professional skills to worthy causes all the time.

If having the pictures be free means that positive images get used by more people in more places I could easily see forgoing compensation.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:28 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]

This is wonderful.

I remain convinced that things like this, plus LGBTQ couples boringly buying houses ("oh look, teh gayz argue about Colonial vs ranch just like WE do, honey!") on HGTV shows without comment on their LGBTQ-ness, is what will ultimately be a main contributor to Mr CisWhite's bigotry being put down.
posted by biscotti at 2:11 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]

Someone should probably mention that Zackary Drucker took these photos.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:55 PM on March 27

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