Stock photos are an interesting breed. They come in all shapes and sizes and don't have a particular rhyme or reason to them at times. They can be really useful to tell a story but sometimes you come across some and think, "who thought this would be a good idea" or "what the heck were they thinking when taking this photo". Regardless, they have become a big business as companies like Getty Images, Shutterstock and others have popped up to challenge the larger players like Associated Press and Reuters, among others. Licensing stock photos is something that a lot of people are now familiar with.
Stock photos are what media outlets use when they don't have another photo to illustrate a particular story. Because of this, stock photos often operate this weird uncanny valley of the specific and general—something that the Twitter account @darkstarkphotos shows hilariously with its collection of some of the weirdest, darkest stock photos on the Internet.
The account—run by UK journalist Andy Kelly—curates the strangest images lurking in the corners of popular stock photo websites like Shutterstock and iStock.
"I've always found stock photography hilarious, and while digging through the depths of Shutterstock I noticed a few that stuck out among all the smiling models playing tennis and eating salad. Some were disturbing, but mostly they were just funny," Kelly said in an interview with Mashable. "No matter how serious the subject matter is, the absurd artifice and bluntness of stock photography makes it amusing."
Kelly continues, "There's no real art to it. I just search stock photo websites (mainly Shutterstock, iStock, and Depositphotos) using the worst keywords possible. Death, gun, drugs, crash, despair, pain, suffering. The darker the search, the funnier the images generally."