Getty Critics: Poking Fun at Flawed Stock Photography


Art directors Andrew MacPhee and Bart Batchelor are intimately familiar with Getty Images’ massive stock photo library. Over the course of their careers, they’ve had to dig through tens of thousands of photos to find ones that would do for whatever campaign they were working on.

But for every “right one” they found, there were hundreds of “wrong ones.” And for every hundred “wrong ones” there were at least one or two that were downright hilariously absurd. It seemed only right that these ridiculous stock photos be shared with the world: thus was born Getty Critics.

MacPhee and Batchelor started Getty Critics back in July. The idea was simple: share absurd stock photos, complete with hilarious captions pointing out the idiosyncrasies, with their friends and families. But when the site got posted to Reddit, they got over one million views in just under six days — clearly it wasn’t going to be just friends and family anymore.


Each flawed photos is accompanied by a funny (and often crude, consider yourself warned) caption that points out just how ridiculous it is.

For example, MacPhee and Batchelor wonder why the man in the photo above is “pouring air on a perfectly arranged basket of vegetables,” or why there’s a stock photo of a family enjoying plain boiled noodles and ketchup.

Naturally, the next step after Stock Photography is Stock Video, and that’s exactly where MacPhee and Batchelor are going with the new series “Getty Dubs.” As they put it, “There’s a reason stock video doesn’t have sound,” which is why the duo are dubbing sounds of their own over the awkward silent vids.

Here’s a compilation of what they’ve come up with so far:

Fortunately for them, Getty Images doesn’t seem to have a problem with the website (yet?) so Getty Critics continues to grow. As MacPhee told Wired, “I guess Getty is reaping the benefits or don’t care, or maybe they haven’t finished their lawsuit.”

Whatever the case, if you’d like to see more ridiculous stock imagery and/or follow along as they dub over even more videos, head over to the Getty Critics website or check out their Facebook page by clicking on the corresponding links.

(via Wired)

  • Uncle Wig

    As a photo researcher, I also have a good collection of Getty FAIL. Not just weird and wrong photos, but screengrabs of some really baffling search results. And then there is Alamy….

  • Banan Tarr

    What is a “photo researcher” ?

  • Uncle Wig

    Photo researchers job is to provide selections of photos (or fine art, historical images, video) to choose from based on requests from editors & designers. In my case, mostly educational publications. Photos come from places like Getty, or museums, libraries, individuals, and so on. Also permissions, data management, fact checking, etc etc.

  • Banan Tarr

    Ah! Thanks for the info.

  • incendiary

    So they basically say “we’re doing a write up on hospitals” and then you go find the best images / footage to suit. Not a bad gig :D

  • rz67

    That video is gold.

  • 9inchnail

    “or why there’s a stock photo of a family enjoying plain boiled noodles and ketchup”

    Because about every kid in the world loves noodles with ketchup? By the way, you can replace “noodles” with any food product in that sentence and it will still be true.

    Seriously, is it that strange for Americans to eat spaghetti with ketchup? Most common thing for lazy parents here.

  • Cinekpol

    erm… yea, it is strange.

  • Chris Dickman

    Good idea, unfunny execution.

  • Jake

    I’ve literally never heard of that, outside of the end of Goodfellas where he asks for pasta marinara and the Witness Protection guys give him egg noodles and ketchup.

  • Dave Wilson

    My virus protection won’t let me go to the web site because it has Mal/HTMLGen-A virus.

  • Laura

    My work network blocked access to Getty Critics because ‘Mal/HTMLGen-A’ has been found at the website…

  • videoflyer

    I have to agree. Some of the observations are funny enough but a lot of the comments are prejudicial (“she’s too hot for him”? Really?) and, in many cases, simply dumber than the picture.

  • K S B

    Recent photo contests should have hired you.

  • Elicia

    This was the only way I would eat spaghetti when I was a kid. I think though it is a European thing as I had friends from that area and they heard of it too.

  • rc

    I didn’t think these were funny at all. trying too hard, with each premise being a bit of a stretch. sorry.