Living in today’s media-saturated environment, the relationship between our experiences and the way they are represented in images, has become increasingly connected. Images in movies, articles, insurance websites, travel brochures offer and sell us models for behaviours, instructing us how to express our love, desires, emotions and frustrations that guide us towards a hotter romance, best version of ourselves or simply better ways of coping with daily anxieties.

Nevertheless, this leads to communication-based infrastructures having the power to transform and package our emotions and experiences into incorporated and manufactured visual modes. One of such corporations, which is also largely hidden from the public, is stock photography. Agencies like Shutterstock obtain legal visual property that consists of millions of still images, video footage used for advertising and publishing across a range of print, visual and digital media.

Captions is an observation on how Shutterstock attempts to explain their own imagery revealing the aim of how these images should be perceived by the viewer. By using company’s own descriptions, the project questions its impact on the way we understand images and how the stock affects our perception of reality.

Annija Muižule, 2018