Stock agencies frequently boast about the size of their image collections. Just yesterday, in fact, a well-known agency announced that its collection had reached 23 million images. It’s impossible to know how many images make up the entire stock photo universe, but suffice it to say the number runs into the hundreds of millions, at least. And the laws of probability dictate that some bad images–and I mean, really bad–are going to slip past the gatekeepers.
BuzzFeed.com has compiled a gallery of some of the worst examples. It’s hard to imagine how many of these pictures were even conceived, much less approved by photo editors. In fact, some are so outlandish that it occurred to us they might be hoaxes. We can’t vouch for the authenticity of all the watermarks indicating where the images came from, but Corbis confirmed that the image at above is indeed from its collection. It was shot by photographer Marcel Steger, and a Corbis spokesperson sent a link to his portfolio, presumably to help mitigate the shock of this particular image by giving it some context.
The BuzzFeed gallery also includes a dozen or so images from Getty, including the one shown at left. Asked whether this and the other images with Getty watermarks are really from Getty, an agency spokesperson said she’d get back to us. We’ll update the post if we get more information.
To see the rest of the gallery, click here at your own risk.