UPDATE 3:45pm: The website has removed its stock photos of people.
Stock photos aren’t a cardinal sin. In most cases their use is obvious, and it makes sense to spend a couple of bucks on a stock image rather than hundreds of dollars setting up a professional photo shoot.
But in most cases stock photos are unnecessary. We don’t need the smiling faces of strangers to inform us of things. And worse, they may give the false impression that these are real people who support a political cause.
Marcel Côté launched his mayoral campaign this morning, and his website was filled with stock photos. There was this one from a photographer in Ukraine. This one from a photographer in Malaysia. This one from a photographer in Colombia. This one from a photographer in Hungary. This one from a photographer in Italy. And this one from a photographer in Germany.
And this image, with the filename “groupe-montrealais.jpg” and the caption “We Are All Montrealers”. It was edited from this stock photo from Ukraine to add a sixth panel because Marcel’s name has one more letter than the stock photo was designed for. (You can see the panel on the end is actually the third one being copied and badly edited.)
I haven’t contacted these photographers to determine where the photos were taken and the nationality of the models, but I’m willing to bet that none of these people are Montrealers.
— Sarah Leavitt (@saraheleavitt) July 3, 2013
Sure enough, all the photos are now gone from the site. Apparently “once we realized where the photos came from, we took them down,” the press attaché told CBC Montreal researcher Sarah Leavitt. Which is an odd thing to say because it means they put up a bunch of pictures not knowing their source.
The site’s designer, Vasco Design (is this really a website design they want to be associated with?) has a habit of using cheesy stock photos on websites it creates.
You might recall that Louise Harel, who abandoned her own run for mayor to support Côté, had similarly used stock photos on her website during the 2009 campaign.