Now, if you’ve spent anytime on the Internet, and unless you’re in some cabin talking to squirrels and writing your manifesto that includes most people, you’ve probably noticed that in order to make your website, article, or blog visually interesting you need photos.
Before, people would just grab any picture from Google Images which is fine if it’s a personal blog that gets 7 views on a good day.
However, if you want your writing to look professional the pictures need to look professional too.
So you need professional photographs but they need to be paid for or come from a free stock photo website like Unsplash.
It allows you a bevy of professional, cool looking photos that are royalty free. It’s the next best thing to kidnapping a photographer and keeping him in the basement, which I’m told is frowned upon.
So, now nearly every major website seems to use Unsplash.
An interesting side effect of this is the frequency with which certain photos pop up over and over.
So I thought I’d take a look at the more popular ones.
If you’ve spent anytime on the Internet you’ve seen the picture above. Personally I’ve always thought it was some enterprising parent that finally took advantage of a child’s ability to prattle on and on about nothing in particular. So, in my head this was the first child podcaster. I imagine if you’re a parent and you must listen to a small child babble then you might as well make money off it.
This poor sap.
If you see this article I can almost guarantee you that it’s about writing struggles. In fact, if your title as the the words “Writer” and “Block” then there’s a good chance this guys will pop up.
I get it too.
It encapsulates the romantic idea of a struggling writer. This is how many writers see themselves. The desk arranged just so. Sleeves rolled up, ready to do hard work. A light in just the right place as to give a flattering chiaroscuro effect. Hair worn long as to suggest the atypical career choice of the artist’s lifestyle.
When in reality a true depiction would a sloppy writer in a disheveled room surrounded by dogs and Mountain Dew bottles.
Also, that guy above clearly has a spell or Satanic runes written in that notebook. He should be watched.
This is the picture people choose for a professional, yet approachable appearance to their writing article. It says I’m going to give you some advice, but I’ll be nice about it.
And, like many others it is another image of a writer in some cafe and always writing by hand.
It’s another ideal scene and what people think about when embarking on a career of words and letters.
You think, I’m going to take my stylish little notebook and pen to the local watering hole or coffee shop and the ideas will just flowing out and I’ll be selling poems for 1,000 dollars a pop.
When it’s more likely you’ll be writing at 1 AM for a 3 AM deadline with Supernatural playing in the background and you can’t remember the last time you saw another living person.
This guy shows up a lot too. I don’t have anything funny to say about it.
Have you ever had an idea?
Would you like to let someone know that you’ve had an idea?
Do you like pictures of lightbulbs?
If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions than you’re probably going to use the image above.
It’s like everyone gets the same…idea and thinks hmmm idea is a bit intangible how do I illustrate it? I know!
I’m not saying I’m any better there are so many lightbulbs at the top of my articles it looks like I’m writing Thomas Edison fan fiction.
There’s no way the guy in this photo isn’t ten seconds away from writing a productivity article of his own.
And he’s going to use the same same picture because that’s what they all do.
Look, I’m not saying the people that write productivity articles aren’t creative and rather dull…
But, yeah that’s exactly what I’m saying.
This is anew one that pops up all the time.
If this one shows up there’s a story coming and someone is fed up with something.
Though the backstory on this photo has to be at least a little interesting.
Why would on have a mug made that says “ugh?”
I mean I can think of several reasons.
Though I like to think that this one is a little more metafictional and it appeared spontaneously on Unsplash.
It’s Unsplash’s little way of saying:
Are you writing that again?
Really that picture?
Are you sure people really want to read about that?
I think the website’s are becoming self aware.
Ok, I’ve seen this lady approximately 4,700 hundred times and I still have no idea what she’s going to do with that pineapple.
There are a lot of articles detailing one’s amorous activities and this picture is at the top of half of them. Actually, the sex writers use so many pictures of fruit that I can’t go the grocery store without blushing.
But like what’s the story here?
I think it went something like this.
Her: Hey, are you up for trying something different tonight?
Her: Okay, I have to run the market real quick.
Him: What for?
Her: You’ll see.
Her: I’m home.
Her: Meet me in the bedroom.
Him: Um, where are you putting that pineapple?
Her: Come here tiger.
Or something to that effect.
I get why this picture is so popular. Sex sells. And you’re limited to what you can pick without running afoul of guidelines.
So you put a picture showing whatever what everyone wants to see and you know is going to get clicks.