In a world projecting itself through imagery, photography has become an omnipresent representation of reality. Images are an inevitable part of daily encounters largely sustaining our capitalist economy — a consistent background of our subconscious environment. Images surrounding us are often made underneath the rule of image-making industries, such as stock photography. Companies like Getty Images have often been criticised regarding its generic image production.

Later, these images used in articles, insurance websites and travel brochures sell us models of behaviours, directing us how to express our emotions, desires and frustrations. Nevertheless, this leads to communication-based infrastructures having the power to aggregate emotions into manufactured visual modes. Agencies like Shutterstock obtain legal visual property that consists of millions of still images used for publishing. 

Captions is an observation on how Shutterstock attempts to describe their own imagery. By using company’s own descriptions, I question its impact on the way we understand images and how the stock affects our perception of reality.

Annija Muižule 2021