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Great moments in stock photography

Laptop users: rarely fully dressed

“Internet ad spendings up, you say? I should probably put some clothes on and go to work”

Actually, I feel the Guardian’s pain. Every so often over the last few years I’ve found myself digging through stock photo libraries looking for a photo of somebody using a notebook computer – often with the dreaded keyword “lifestyle” involved, too – and I’ve discovered a few rules:

  1. Men use notebooks up in high-rise offices. Usually three or more men surround the notebook, grinning and pointing like amused chimpanzees. Ties will be loosened and there will be venetian blinds in the background, or an empty office space that resembles an unfinished airport terminal.
  2. Women often use notebook computers wearing pyjamas, or, even more commonly, an oversized (normally white, possibly man’s) shirt. They often do so on a bed (see above) or a large beige sofa of the type that nobody in the real world owns because they are larger than a normal living room. Sometimes a lone female notebook user will be surrounded by the braying pack of berks described above, grinning and tapping the keyboard (“SEND HELP STOP AM SURROUNDED BY PACK OF STOCKBROKERS STOP”)
  3. Male or female, the notebook users in stock photos often strike poses presumably chosen to demonstrate victory or success (both arms raised, punching the air etc). The result is to make them look like lunatics or, worse, marionettes.
  4. Occasionally the person will clutch a dollar bill in one hand, or stretch it out between both hands with a smug grin. This applies to pretty much any kind of stock photography.
  5. No matter when the photo was taken, the notebook in question will always look as ancient as a quill pen and bottle of ink.

Up next at this rate, the top ten reasons why I hate Microsoft Word.

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