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I came across this video today on YouTube which I thought was quite thought provoking.

 

Personally I am a white guy married to an Asian lady and my wife and children are amongst my favourite subjects to shoot. But I very rarely get an image of myself and my wife together.. because I am behind the camera and can't be in two places at once. But I wonder if the lack of diversity in stock photos is due to the diversity (or lack)  of the people behind the camera? I tend to shoot things and people around me in day-to-day life which outside of my own family, doesn't always lead to much diversity. I have a friend who works in marketing and she has told me more than once that a huge thing at the moment in marketing circles is diversity. Maybe some of us need to be braver and ask people that we might not normally photograph to be our models?

 

Anyway.. I just thought I'd throw it out there as this video made me think!

 

 

 

 

Edited by Matt Ashmore
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Impressive lady, oddly I can't seem to find her agency online, in the video it is called Premiere Diverse Stock Photos. Here's a bio piece about her:

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominiquefluker/2018/04/18/karen-okonkwo/

 

I've certainly noticed diversity a lot more in UK TV commercials of late, not that I get to see that many, and that is no doubt due to the imperative in marketing circles that your friend mentions. 

Edited by Harry Harrison

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Nice share Matt. 

 

Harry - Here is the agency https://tonl.co/ from the details on the article you shared.

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I think the amount of diversity in the media reflects the diversity in a particular society.

 

Toronto is a very diverse city and most TV commercials have a diverse cast of characters. This is not just a multi racial group of friends snacking on the product while watching a hockey game on TV. It extends to a black/white couple in bed joined by their sleepy multiracial child in the morning, to advertise a mattress.

 

The above depictions are not fantasy, but are real life in the Toronto area.

 

A popular TV show in Toronto is a cable television hockey broadcast with on air game commentary all in Punjabi. Punjabi is the most-spoken native language in Canada after English, French, Mandarin and Cantonese.

 

There was a stock photo agency called BLEND specializing in diverse images, that was successful for about 10 years, but just closed down last year. So TONL is a good idea, but not a new idea.

 

Personally my extended family has a sampling of every major racial group on the planet, and many combinations thereof. Makes for some interesting family dinners.

 

This Canadian guy is the minister of immigration in in Canada's federal cabinet. An immigrant to Canada himself, with a interesting life story

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmed_Hussen

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LIke Bill says, a lot depends on where you live. In my particular area of Scotland, there's very little diversity (too much rain, probably!) and adverts and shows with a lot of diversity seem 'unreal'.

(For fun, here's Trevor Noah's take on it, and Edinburgh is much, much more diverse than my neck of the woods:

 

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Interesting video. One aspect of diversity is the fact that people in every country can shoot pix of their own people and locale. They don’t have to wait until some white guy in a safari jacket shows up ‘on location’ with a fancy camera. The democratisation of photography continues, and the resulting images are in plentiful supply here at Alamy and elsewhere…

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13 minutes ago, Cryptoprocta said:

LIke Bill says, a lot depends on where you live. In my particular area of Scotland, there's very little diversity (too much rain, probably!) and adverts and shows with a lot of diversity seem 'unreal'.

 

Agree.

 

In Texas our diversity is likely more than in your area of Scotland.  

 

But even here IMO media is over-representing it.  It's gotten to the point that many feel it's being thrust unwanted into our faces as a form of social engineering and normalization that does not represent reality.

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1 hour ago, Bill Brooks said:

I think the amount of diversity in the media reflects the diversity in a particular society.

 

Toronto is a very diverse city and most TV commercials have a diverse cast of characters. This is not just a multi racial group of friends snacking on the product while watching a hockey game on TV. It extends to a black/white couple in bed joined by their sleepy multiracial child in the morning, to advertise a mattress.

 

The above depictions are not fantasy, but are real life in the Toronto area.

 

A popular TV show in Toronto is a cable television hockey broadcast with on air game commentary all in Punjabi. Punjabi is the most-spoken native language in Canada after English, French, Mandarin and Cantonese.

 

There was a stock photo agency called BLEND specializing in diverse images, that was successful for about 10 years, but just closed down last year. So TONL is a good idea, but not a new idea.

 

Personally my extended family has a sampling of every major racial group on the planet, and many combinations thereof. Makes for some interesting family dinners.

 

This Canadian guy is the minister of immigration in in Canada's federal cabinet. An immigrant to Canada himself, with a interesting life story

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmed_Hussen

 

A couple of years ago, the BBC dubbed Toronto the most diverse city in the world.

 

Vancouver has changed immensely during the past few decades and is now very diverse as well. It has become almost a suburb of Asia. I'm not much of a people photographer, so I guess I miss out on that aspect of the city. Including more diversity in images is certainly something to keep in mind, though.

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My extended family also includes African-American, Asian, Indian, Native American, and Latino members, going back at least three generations, yet despite that diversity, our family is still predominantly white. 

 

I think that we still have so much to learn when talking about race as it is still, sadly, often such a fraught discussion. I've seen comments on other forums by people who scoff at the move toward diversity in advertising as being pushed by an "unrealistic" American agenda. I covered a lot of events for a variety of local parenting magazines in NYC and the surrounding suburbs  (back in the days when print was still alive and kicking) and was a bit unsettled when an editor would tell me to make an effort to get images showing "diversity."

 

I think that the effort to show diversity in advertising and other media, even if more aspirational in areas where that diversity does not exist, is not necessarily a bad thing, in that visuals shape our perceptions of reality, and making sure that children of all colors see people who look like them doing jobs they can aspire to, and children of all colors seeing kids who look like them being friends with or married to people who don't, and seeing families who look like theirs when their neighbors don't, can only help subtly impress upon them that we are all the same. I guess a part of me is all for social engineering when the effort is to change attitudes for the better, but OTOH it can perhaps also lead to a certain complacency and a misperception that the state of race relations, for want of a better phrase, is further along than it really is. I lived in NYC during the Civil Rights movement and personally expected things to be so much different by now.

 

I realize the fact that all of three of my great-nieces, with three different sets of parents,  are "brown,"  is a rarity as my husband and I are both Caucasian, but I am not alone among my Caucasian friends in seeing greater diversity in their families, especially in their kids and grandkids' generations. It was much more unusual for me to have a mother in law who was black (my husband's step-mom). With the rise of hate groups in this country under the current administration, I also feel perhaps an even greater stake in wanting things to change for the better not just for the world in general but also because it effects those sweet little children and their fathers whom I love. By the way, only one lives in New York (in the suburbs - they used to live in Montreal), and one lives in Tennessee, so this isn't just a big-city phenomenon. 

 

I remember working on my college's 25th Reunion some time ago now and being surprised when a close friend who is Asian told me how glad she was that so many women of color were finally on the Reunion  committee. She then went on to tell me how tough she found it sometimes to be seen as the "Chinese girl,"  and that she assumed that was why people remembered her. I was shocked to hear that she felt that way and saddened that it took her more than two decades to even discuss it - and having never experienced anyone treating her that way, I wondered if I was simply blissfully naive or if it is because being a minority in society causes you to see yourself differently, as the video shared above can attest. The college I went to back in the 1970's was still predominantly prep-school white Anglo-Saxon protestant women with trust funds, and I myself was the victim of prejudice from time to time being of (second/third generation) Italian ancestry, easily forgotten so many years later as people who look like me are in the majority.

 

Thanks for sharing the link. It gives us a lot to think about, and a lot to work toward. 

Edited by Marianne
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5 hours ago, Gnans said:

Harry - Here is the agency https://tonl.co/ from the details on the article you shared.

Thanks Gnans, I should have read it more closely. T.O.N.L as in 'tonal' I suppose.

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26 minutes ago, Marianne said:

I think that the effort to show diversity in advertising and other media, even if more aspirational in areas where that diversity does not exist, is not necessarily a bad thing, in that visuals shape our perceptions of reality, and making sure that children of all colors see people who look like them doing jobs they can aspire to, and children of all colors seeing kids who look like them being friends with or married to people who don't, and seeing families who look like theirs when their neighbors don't, can only help subtly impress upon them that we are all the same

I agree, that is excellent though I somehow doubt that the advertising industry is being entirely altruistic here, it's not exactly social engineering, more a reflection of modern society and how the spending power is distributed. Nothing wrong with that, twas ever thus, and it does have the residual effect of gradually changing our (my) perceptions of what is, or should be, normal.

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14 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

I agree, that is excellent though I somehow doubt that the advertising industry is being entirely altruistic here, it's not exactly social engineering, more a reflection of modern society and how the spending power is distributed. Nothing wrong with that, twas ever thus, and it does have the residual effect of gradually changing our (my) perceptions of what is, or should be, normal.

 

 I agree, while I hope there is some aspirational/altruist aspect,  it's probably mostly dollars and sense. I guess I was thinking more in terms of when I was "following orders" and looking for shots of children from all backgrounds, I hoped that it would in fact help change attitudes over time, and that it wasn't just cynical pandering, trying to show how "with it" they were. 

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3 hours ago, John Morrison said:

Interesting video. One aspect of diversity is the fact that people in every country can shoot pix of their own people and locale. They don’t have to wait until some white guy in a safari jacket shows up ‘on location’ with a fancy camera. The democratisation of photography continues, and the resulting images are in plentiful supply here at Alamy and elsewhere…

 

We get foreign photographers in Nicaragua who have no clue what the Nicaraguan photographers' work is like.  One Nicaraguan photographer was the stills photographer for Miami Vice.  The issues for me is trying to get away from the cliches of exotic other.  We foreigners are the exotic others.   I don't know how many Nicaraguans have portfolios on Alamy, but suspect it's more than one.  (I'd kinda like to see if there are enough here to do a meet-up, maybe).

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This conversation makes one wonder why Alamy hasn't added "Diversity" to the list of categories in AIM.

 

Might be a good idea...

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14 hours ago, Phil said:

 

But even here IMO media is over-representing it.  It's gotten to the point that many feel it's being thrust unwanted into our faces as a form of social engineering and normalization that does not represent reality.

It is even more than that for in many instances what is taking place amounts to positive discrimination purely for the sake of Diversity without regard to real merit, suitability or qualification. I wonder what you make of the following quote from the Huffington post regarding recent comments made by the British actor Lawrence Fox.:

 

Fresh from his highly divisive appearance on Question Time, Laurence Fox has taken aim at Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes and his lauded World War I drama, 1917.

The actor has criticised the filmmaker for including a Sikh soldier in his latest movie, which has been nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.

 
Laurence
SIPA USA/PA IMAGES
Laurence Fox

The 41-year-old questioned the film’s storyline and what he describes as the “incongruous” inclusion of a Sikh soldier, Sepoy Jondalar, played by Nabhaan Rizwan, in the ranks of the British forces.

Speaking on writer James Delingpole’s podcast, Fox remarks: ’It’s like, ‘There were Sikhs fighting in this war’ . . . OK, you’re now diverting me away from what the story is.

“There is something institutionally racist about forcing diversity on people in that way.”

He added that the “oddness of the casting” causes a “very heightened awareness of the colour of someone’s skin”.

The actor, who is best known for his roles in the ITV dramas Lewis and Victoria, goes on to praise Rizwan’s performance in the war film.

 

“He’s great in it,” he says, before arguing that having a Sikh appear in the British Army “did sort of flick me out of what is essentially a one-shot film [because] it’s just incongruous with the story”.

Sikh soldiers played a key role in the British Army in World War I, including fighting in the battles of Ypres and the Somme.

 

Edited by Futterwithtrees
typo

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5 minutes ago, Futterwithtrees said:

Sikh soldiers played a key role in the British Army in World War I, including fighting in the battles of Ypres and the Somme.

Absolutely, he received a great deal of adverse publicity over here for his utterances, at least in the things I read or listen to, which is gratifying.

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Interesting topic.

 

There is at least one collective of photographers I know that are focusing on "creating images featuring people from communities that are underrepresented in the media, thereby giving those communities a “visual voice” in popular culture". They are called HEX and I really like they're images. They look very candid and authentic while obviously arranged. Not just people of various colors - also lot of sexual diversity. One thing missing though: age heterogeneous. 

 

A bit off topic: I have a hard time with ethnic profiling of individuals in my images. It just feels somewhat wrong. I wouldn't even want determinate anyone's gender on their behalf. Yet I understand the demand and I do it to some level. But even the word Caucasian is from times when other options were Negroid, Mongoloid or Australoid. Aryan, anyone?

 

Anyways, according to Meyers Konversations-Lexikon ethnographic map from 1885 Finns are not Caucasians but North Mongols, so maybe I'll just start taking selfies. 😀

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1 hour ago, John Morrison said:

I can recommend a book, How to Argue with a Racist, which unpicks many of our assumptions about race. Really thought-provoking...

I hadn't come across that but I see that it is on our own BBC 'Sounds' read by the man himself, abridged I suppose. Perfect listening whilst keywording perhaps.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000f5g4

 

He's on our Radio 4 a lot over here, he also has a series explaining science with Hannah Fry "The Curious cases of Rutherford & Fry".

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/search?filter=programmes&q=adam+rutherford

 

Not sure whether that's available overseas but I think it is.

Edited by Harry Harrison

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7 hours ago, Futterwithtrees said:

It is even more than that for in many instances what is taking place amounts to positive discrimination purely for the sake of Diversity without regard to real merit, suitability or qualification. I wonder what you make of the following quote from the Huffington post regarding recent comments made by the British actor Lawrence Fox.:

 

Have you missed the point? He ground an axe over what he claimed was the incorrect PC inclusion of a Sikh in a WW1 scene. Many thousands of Sikhs served in WW1. He was wrong.

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7 hours ago, Harry Harrison said:

Absolutely, he received a great deal of adverse publicity over here for his utterances, at least in the things I read or listen to, which is gratifying.

Anyone else find the red arrow on this post a bit sinister?

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1 minute ago, spacecadet said:

Anyone else find the red arrow on this post a bit sinister?

I did wonder if someone somehow thought I was agreeing with said actor's position, but actually I don't think so...

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2 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

I did wonder if someone somehow thought I was agreeing with said actor's position, but actually I don't think so...

One must give the benefit of the doubt I suppose- your meaning is crystal clear but the subtlety might be lost on some.

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