Stock photos are weird.
You may be thinking that was something you knew already, but trust us you’ve barely even scratched the surface.
Over the past few weeks, UK journalist Andy Kelly has been showing us just how deep the rabbit hole goes with @darkstockphotos a collection of the most bleak and bizarre pictures available on sites like iStock and Shutterstock.
“I’ve always found stock photography hilarious, and while digging through the depths of Shutterstock I noticed a few that stuck out among all the smiling models playing tennis and eating salad. Some were disturbing, but mostly they were just funny,” Kelly told us. “No matter how serious the subject matter is, the absurd artifice and bluntness of stock photography makes it amusing.”
“There’s no real art to it. I just search stock photo websites (mainly Shutterstock, iStock, and Depositphotos) using the worst keywords possible. Death, gun, drugs, crash, despair, pain, suffering. The darker the search, the funnier the images generally.”
The images certainly are striking. For a moment we wondered if they were the real deal. We’ve added links and the caption/search terms to each image so that you can see for yourself. “Some images are just plain sad or depressing, and I make an effort to avoid them and choose ones that are in some way funny, or just so fake-looking as to be impossible to take seriously.” adds Kelly.
From blow-up dolls to horse masks, here are some of the “highlights.”
10. No caption needed! This is just strange, pure and simple.
There are more on the Twitter feed, but beware, they can be quite dark. And it goes without saying that the behaviour depicted is definitely not to be tried at home.
“I’ve been on Twitter since 2008 and have created multiple ‘novelty’ accounts, but this has been the most successful by far. The reaction has been ludicrous. says Kelly. “I couldn’t tell you why, but I think it helps that you can find the account funny without speaking a particular language.”
“Judging by my mentions, it’s the most multicultural Twitter thing I’ve ever done, which is cool. A baby smoking or a girl taking a selfie with an AK-47 is funny wherever you’re from, I guess.”
A picture speaks a thousands words!