Project #ShowUs is changing the way we see women in stock photos

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Stock photos of women laughing at salad are a thing of the past as Project #ShowUs aims to portray the diversity and power of women worldwide.

Above video: Behind the scenes of Project #ShowUs.

Women in stock photos are often dealt a bum hand. They're either laughing hysterically at a bowl of salad or getting mad at their boyfriend for being distracted by other women.

But, more importantly, they woefully under-represent the diversity of women, considering 70% of women don’t feel represented in media and advertising.

Which is what lead Dove to partner with Getty Images and Girlgaze to create Project #ShowUs.

Show Us
A stock image from Project #ShowUs.
Getty Images

Breaking stereotypes

Project #ShowUs gathered 116 female presenting or non-binary photographers from 39 countries to create a catalogue of over 5,000 stock photos.

Sydney based documentary photographer Elize Strydom was one of six Australians chosen to participate in the project.

“I just jumped at the chance because I thought it was an incredible opportunity to show women as they are and not how the media want to represent them,” Strydom told The Feed.

Two women feature in Strydom's photos, Bundjalung/Dhungutti woman and The Koori Mail general manager, Naomi Moran and mother Bethany Tyson.

“I was asked to nominate women in my life who I thought were not being represented in Australian media,” Strydom said.

"It was such an honour to work with these women."

Getty Images stats show that the search term ‘diverse women’ has increased by 168 per cent over the last year, and ‘strong women’ by 187 per cent.

This is a true representation of women.

“It’s a step away from what we usually get in Australian media of like tall, blonde, tanned, thin, able-bodied women who only eat salad and are always laughing,” says Strydom.

Going forward

The Getty Images homepage is splashed with pictures from Project #ShowUs.

But for Strydom, this is just the beginning.

“I want to do more, I want to encourage other photographers and other people including women in their work to look outside what they would normally do,” she says.

“Media and advertisers need to see outside their usual scope and not perpetuate those stereotypes that we see over and over. Be brave, make genuine, lasting change.”

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