Race and Stock Photography

I have a video project for a client this week that uses stock photography and stock video extensively. I've used stock images before, but this is my first time using them this much (almost 30% of video is stock).

I discovered something that's kind of shocking. A stock image of a generic blonde woman sells for $10 - $65 with any of the various stock vendors. A similar image with an African American face in the middle of it will sell for anywhere from $85 - $300. Needless to say, I wonder why this is true.

There's a part of me that wonders if this is a part of the "Red Barn Phenomena."

Why are so many barns painted red? Because red paint was the cheapest color.

Why was red the cheapest color? Because so many farmers used red to paint their barns.

Anyway, this is my theory on why black faces are so much more expensive in stock video and stock photography. If anyone stumbles across this blog and knows more about this subject than I, or simply has a different theory or opinion, please feel free to leave a comment below.


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