Sunday, May 17, 2009

Now show me "Synergy."

This post is going to lose some of its effect because my computer is so old and full of random crap (pictures of hairless cats, Lindsay Lohan's debut album, 25-page papers on Jane Eyre) that I can no longer download photos without having to engage in the long and arduous process of deleting just enough old crap to make way for the new crap. That being said, I think I've stumbled onto comic gold (if handled correctly). But just an FYI, this my topic and you can't have it for at least a month, at which point I'll become fascinated with something new and then it's all yours.

I can think of no other art form that so vividly captures the physical embodiment of otherwise vague concepts than stock photography. If you work in advertising or marketing or if you are lucky enough to fall victim to our propaganda, you know what I'm talking about. The images of beautiful, unfamiliar-looking people having a meeting on the cover of your company's brochure. You're pretty sure you don't work with these people, and you're right. They're models who haven't found the success of an L.L. Bean catalog yet but have risen above the ranks of the guy who talks to the carpet in those Luna commercials.

Go to any stock site and search for "Success," and you will find dozens upon dozens of pictures of people wearing suits, high-fiving, shaking hands or even toasting champagne (depending on how successful you want these people to be). Search for "meeting" and you will find pictures of round table discussions where no one is asleep and everyone is passionately participating in an imaginary brainstorm about boosting profits in the third quarter. I could be wrong, but I imagine if you searched for "downsizing," you'd find some somewhat comical depictions of miniaturized businessmen, or a businessman grabbing his collar like Rodney Dangerfield. Of course, these would be nestled among more poignant images of empty desk chairs.

And almost always, no matter what you're looking for, there will be a smattering of illogical images involving business people lining up at the starting line of a track, their suits wrinkling as they position themselves to race, their empty briefcases sitting patiently beside them. One time I searched for "Congratulations" and found a picture of a businessman giving the camera the middle finger. If this is on the cover of your company's brochure, I want to work where you work.

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