Images matter

August 30, 2022 – Mari is off this month, so filling in is Tracey Lam, Director of Programs and Communications. 

Like any other industry, stock photography has a diversity and inclusion problem.  

Someone on a Slack channel that I follow recently shared a spreadsheet with a list of sites that provide diverse stock images. As a communications professional who frequently creates graphics, I try to be mindful of who or what I show. Stock photos can be a powerful tool in ensuring representation, fighting stereotypes and reshaping perceptions.

A few tips that I learned along the way: 

  • Don’t use racially diverse photos only when you are talking about race issues or photos of people with a disability only when talking about disability issues. Use diverse images all the time. 
  • Avoid portraying people in stereotypical roles or activities.  
  • Avoid tokenism. This could mean using an image just to prevent criticism and give the appearance that your organization is diverse when it is not diverse. 

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. What images you choose to show, how you show them and where you show them reflects your organization’s values, commitment to inclusion and willingness to breakdown the status quo.