Mark Duffy has written the Copyranter blog for 11 years and is a freelancing copywriter with 25-plus years of experience. His hockey wrist shot is better than yours.
I’ve been searching for the perfect stock photo for over 30 years. In the beginning, it was paging through thicker-than-the-September-Vogue stock photo books and then, tens of thousands of pages online.
Of course, you can never quite find the perfect stock photo for whatever project you’re working on — that’s the point of “stock” photos. But you sometimes can find one that’s really close: If you have the inner strength of a gladiator to “just look at one more page” after going through thousands of horribly generic, boring photos.
Most stock photo models have a non-ness about them. They’re there, but they’re not there. The photographers are partially to blame. But then last week, while I was searching for “old man using computer” for this “Ageism in the Digital Age” post, I found this very present, very real gentleman on Shutterstock captioned: “Senior man using laptop computer at rest in the park outdoors.”
Right there, there was all of my inner angst, staring right into my senior, brown eyes.
Notice how it looks like this senior man was just sitting there, “at rest,” when the photographer (Sergei Primakov) ruined his afternoon by placing this horrible-looking laptop on his lap and said “pretend you’re using it and look into the camera.” SNAP.
The oversized laptop then (probably) slipped off the senior man’s lap (something that has happened to me many times) and fell to the ground. Of course he doesn’t know how to use it. He doesn’t want to.
A “dæmon” is, according to fantasy author Philip Pullman (“The Golden Compass,” etc.), the external physical manifestation of a person’s “inner-self” that takes the form of an animal.
My dæmon animal just happens to be human.
Above are two more shots from the series. Look at his hands (left). He has no idea what he is doing, which is my automatic mental state. Then (right), the photog threw a pair of ill-fitting glasses on him. OH YEAH, now he looks like an IT developer. Most photographers are assholes, trust me.
Most of you probably think I’m not being frank, that I’m being a sarcastic prick at the expense of this stock photo model. To you-all, I say: Stop reading now, and go “have sexual intercourse with yourself,” as my editor would prefer I word it. [Ed. note: This is true. Thank you, Mark]
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My dæmon is also the model in two other Shutterstock series: one titled “Shattered bandits man with bruises and hematomas,” and the other “Captain in the tourist travel. Pending the ship at the pier.” He looks more at home as a traveling captain, because that’s what he is.
Primakov has also shot the same man for Dreamstime stock photos, including a series titled: “The old man fired.” I was fired as an old man by BuzzFeed. This “mature man using computer” has gone “viral” lately. But I’m sorry: that smile is as fake as his teeth.
Senior Man Using Laptop Computer At Rest? You have made me more woke than I’ve ever been. Stay safe.