The Often Confusing and Terrifying World of Stock Images

I figured we all (an by “we all” I mean me) could use a break from all the “my Dad’s dead” monotony, plus I wrote this right before I got the first call from the hospital so I pretty much did not have to do anything which is how I like things. Enjoy!

So (drink), in my other life I am a graphic designer which makes me sound more important or more educated or more grown up than I actually am. In reality I make ads for newspapers which is actually a lot of fun. I get to play with art and make things and play with typography and really what more could an artsy, word-loving, font nerd want out of life? More money, that’s what….but that is not my point although I do totally have one, I swear.

In our various peregrinations as graphic artists we look at a ton of art, stock photography, vector images, clipart etc. each and every day. And sometimes we find exactly what we are looking for and other times we find so much more than we set out to find! Which is why I decided to make a special folder at work, on one of our servers, where the whole creative team in my office could drop pictures they found that were more curiosity than anything else: Images so horrifying, poorly executed, head-scratchingly vexing, and downright ugly that they defy reason and imagination! I made a “Horrible Stock Art” folder and, if I ever get off my lazy ass, am totally going to make a Tumblr out of all the terrifying things in there. The best part is that with 16 artist working in one creative hub, new stuff gets downloaded every day!

In the meantime I decided it would be fun to share some of the images here!
*Crowd Roars*
So here are some of them in all their bizarre, tacky, irrelevant glory! Enjoy!

03042918915159xshs_X_th_C

Admittedly, when I first looked at this I thought it was a real person just wearing a super creepy mask but no, it’s a statue…smoking a cigar, because why the fuck not!

 

dv755043

You should see the picture of him before meth.

 

Its called presenting

It’s called “presenting”. 

 

is he smelling her crotch

Is he smelling her crotch? 

 

i have no words

I have no words… I really don’t. Or maybe I am just saving them for a worse picture than this one, if that is at all possible.

 

OMG is that a discman

HOLY FUCK! Is that a discman?

 

wax martha graham

I know this is supposed to look like Martha Graham but it kind of just looks like the wax statue of an awkward Carol Burnett in the process of melting.

 

this monk knows how to party

This monk knows how to jam out…either that or he’s putting out an imaginary fire.

 

scary clown drag queen ballarino

I call ’em like I see ’em…and here I see a scary drag queen clown ballerino.

 

i madethis in Paint for you_mom

“LOOK MOM! I made this for you in Paint!”

 

I have no idea for what scenario this would be appropriate

I have no idea for what scenario this image would be appropriate.

 

DancingManCar3HC1102_X_th_C

And here we have a headless man romancing an anthropomorphic female car!

 

bells palsy ballarina

And this is a ballerina and her tremendously severe case of bells palsy.

 

axe dog

????

 

thisWILLhurtabit

This WILL hurt a bit.

c3dbfc552ffc4528f8ff41f970ea88d6

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?

thug life

#ThugLife

 

twogreattastesthattastegreattogether

Now THAT is my kind of Doctor!

 

stock-vector-strange-and-horrible-girl-illustration-with-diamond-sketch-art-tattoo-333274838

And you thought YOUR kidney stones were a bitch!

 

enhanced-22521-1400016682-17

A one-eyed butcher or blackjack dealer flashing “East Side” while listening to an abacus.

 

underwater nun

I am super confused right now.

 

WHAT_THE

NOM NOM NOM!

 

yum gasoline

This seems like a perfectly reasonable thing although, if she still has beer left why has she already switched to gasoline? 

 

This baby looks like Vic Mackey

This baby looks exactly like Vic Mackey!

 

thefutureiscorn

THE FUTURE IS CORN!!!

 

Terrible Snowman 465052944

I have never felt this much pity for a snowman before. Everyone knows the pointy end of the carrot faces out! What the fuck is wrong with society? 

 

the murderer

This bitch is all, “Yep, I killed him! What the fuck are you going to do about it?”

 

STOPLOOKINGATME

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP LOOKING AT ME!

 

sociopath

I have so many questions: what did that fish ever do to her? Why is she so happy about killing that fish and probably losing a digit in the process? Is that Bridget Fonda? Is she cosplaying “Reservoir Dogs”?

 

infants and champagne

“Join us for the further adventures of Drunk Baby! In his next adventure he gets taken away by CPS!”

 

ishedeathorjesus

Is that supposed to be Death or Jesus? I legitimately want to know the answer to this.

 

Title

This baby LOVES rat poison and also looks like River Phoenix from “Stand By Me”.

 

mommyslittlearsonist

Mommy’s little arsonist!

 

Mr. Princess

Okay, I supposed this could be explained if he were a mayor and his last name was actually Princess. 

 

shrunkenheaddoctor

I am not sure why this doctor has a shrunken head…either that or he’s borrowed the suit that David Byrne wore in “Stop Making Sense”. And for the love of all that is holy, please put down the Goddamn baby and walk away slowly! 

I have an excellent caption for this

“Oh-Em-Gee, Guys! Look how much fun we’re having! Or at least that’s how it will look when I post this to Instagram!” Also, one of those dudes is getting REAL lucky this new year’s eve. Also, also it just occurred to me that those people are probably all related, or at least were all made in the same factory…you know, the one that made Taylor Swift.

 

I am plotting your eventual murder

Man’s thought: “I am plotting your eventual murder.” Woman’s thought: “There’s just no ‘right time’ to tell him he’s not the father.”

 

deer god

Deer God!

 

Title

THIS! This makes me super uncomfortable. It’s just so creepy on so many levels; she’s clearly supposed to be his daughter but he is awkwardly embracing her mid-section as if she were pregnant with his child….also, she’s like 10.

 

Title

It says “Sick Cookie” (which, on its own totally makes perfect sense, right?) but all I see is a sick meatball.

 

cake pillow

Okay, this actually seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do….for those of us who would like to have a constant supply of cake in our bed, right next to our mouth.

 

 

BabyNewYear05_X_th_C

Ladies and Gentlemen, in this evening’s performance Baby New Year will be played by Ralph Kramden!

 

BabyNewYear10_X_th_C

Okay, presumably if you are looking through stock images to place in advertisements you are an artist and as an artist you would clearly know that this, as art, is a steaming pile of shit.

 

Caesar Cruz once said that “art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable”. Frankly I am not sure which of those I started out as but I am definitely disturbed now and none of these are comforting me AT ALL!

What really blows my mind is not how much bizarre stock photography we find but how much really, truly awful artwork. Why, for the love of Jebus, would anyone whose job title included the word “artist” use something that looked like it was made by a moderately talented German Shepard using the 1985 version of Paintbrush Pro? Particularly when most of us could make something 30 times less crappy in a matter of minutes? I’ll tell you why, because laziness and we don’t get paid enough to care. I hope this made you laugh or at least wonder how someone could go their entire life without being taught how to properly assemble a snowman. XOXO

 

 

 

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