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Lean In Is Finally Going To Get Women Photos That Actually Represent Them

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For anyone who works in media it is most likely that you have worked with a stock photo agency and if you ever tried to look for a photo of a woman doing anything that wasn’t standing around with flowers, you have probably seen some pretty horrifying images. Depictions of career women always involve ladders or hammers or standing provocatively on a desk and it is just plain disheartning and upsetting. For some reference, check out this great gallery New York Magazine’s The Cut put together.

Emily Shornick of The Cut wrote, “We know that stock photography is designed to trade in cliches; we’re well acquainted with Women Laughing Alone With Salad. But after searching for working woman and turning up umpteen images of multi-ethnic women examining X-rays, we realized that the world of stock-photo tropes is richer and weirder than we had imagined. If this is how feminism looks to the world, maybe what a woman really needs is a stock agency of one’s own.”

Well Emily, your wish and so many other frustrated editors and writers wishes came true. Sheryl Sandberg and her team at Lean In have partnered with Getty Images to create a stock-photo library of 2,500 pictures that portray women in a positive light. Those will be available to Getty customers like corporations seeking an image for their website, creative directors at ad agencies and photo editors at media outlets. Lean In will get an undisclosed portion of the fees from the licensing of those images.

“There’s so much terrible stock imagery out there, so we wanted to put something out that felt really authentic and empowering,,” said Jessica Bennett, Lean In’s contributing editor who works on editorial partnerships for the organization.

The Lean In photos will show women at work as well in school and family scenarios and will emphasize strong body language instead of women looking stressed and passive. We all know how important strong body language is, especially for women, so it would be great to see that reflected in photos. Plus, these women will not all be 20 year old models posing as executives. We will actually see some age and imperfections on those faces.

“When we see images of women and girls and men, they often fall into the stereotypes that we’re trying to overcome, and you can’t be what you can’t see,” Sandberg said in an interview.

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