08 Oct 2015 Shutterstock to Save Politicians from Themselves with Gaffe-Proof Collections

More and more frequently, politicians are getting egg on their face due to inaccurate use of stock imagery in their campaigns. But stock-friendly politicians need fear no more as Shutterstock has the solution.

By curating personal collections of campaign-safe images for individual politicians, the politicians’ campaign designers can be sure images are shot in the relevant place and feature people relevant to the politicians’ electorate.

The Gaffes

According to Shutterstock’s curator Robyn Lange, this idea was born after the recent fail in US Republican candidate Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise ad which featured stock footage shot in England, and took off in the media in September.  Ironically, the ad was intended to bash competitor candidate Donald Trump, who also experienced a similar controversy in July when he posted, then later deleted, a Tweet celebrating American troops, but used a stock photo that depicted a Nazi soldier in a reenactment.

And it’s not just US politicians making gaffes.  Canadian conservative Stephen Harper made a similar mistake when tweeting about his program to protect British Columbia’s salmon but using a stock photo of an Atlantic salmon.  And in September he did it again when he released a credit program for the mining industry using a photo of miners in a cave that was shot by Andres Rodriguez in Colombia.


From this and similar cases, Shutterstock has decided to find a way to provide gaffe-proof imagery for political propaganda. Focusing in the two states to start the national elections this year, the new “Safe for IA and NH” collection hosts images shot by Iowa and New Hampshire-based photographers only. It’s a very small collection of around 50 images which the company says may be increased if it gains enough traction among campaign designers. Lange said it could even grow to include locally-verified photos for each state.

  • claudio
    Posted at 18:41h, 17 October Reply

    ‘images shot by Iowa and New Hampshire-based photographers only’

    How is this a proof? photographers can travel, and state/country of origin means nothing

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