Stock images are a great concept, really. They're always there when you need them for visuals in a presentation, whether it be two girls fighting or a man playing golf, the possibilities seem endless. After further research into the deepest, darkest, weirdest places on the web, we can all but confirm the theory that the possibilities really are endless, and we mean endless. Why? Because for every arguably normal image released by one of the stock photo sites, there's an equally inexplicable image that brings up the question, "when would anyone ever need to use that kind of image?" While these images may not be being used for important presentations, they at least have a home here, in this article, and that's something.
14 The confusing, yet ever-present laughing girl with salad
So there have been a lot of memes about this particular form of stock image. The girl laughing with salad trope seems to be a favourite of every stock image site there is. There's always a girl, usually white, holding a salad in one hand, raising a fork in the other, and tilting her head back in laughter. But the internet continues to wonder: what the hell is is so funny about these damn salads? Is there something in the air in salad-eater world (laughing gas perhaps)? Although, of all the weird stock images, this one makes the most sense, if we're being fair. Sure the normal person doesn't laugh with their salads on a regular basis, but at least these kinds of images can be used for a health campaign, because what's better than a food that also serves as a companion to fill your life with humour? Probably food that actually tastes like something other than (apparently undressed) lettuce, but we'll leave it at that.
13 The new and racially diverse laughing girl with salad
While we previously mentioned how most of the salad-eating women are white, it appears the stock image industry heard our, and the rest of the internet's cries. Wow are we lucky, now we get woman laughing with salad: Asian woman edition! Complete with chopsticks! Those stock image sites sure showed us, racism is officially cancelled. Okay, but jokes aside, the fact still remains that this woman laughing with her salad, even if she's holding chopsticks rather than a fork, does not make much sense. Plus, whoever directed this shoot has managed to make this woman look even more uncomfortable than her salad-eating counterparts. From the position of her chopsticks to the pained look in her eyes, this image really is just weird.
12 The cactus lover
To kick things up a notch, a new plant has been introduced for women to enjoy: the cactus. What's not to love about a cactus? It has a hard skin, not much flavour, and some lovely spikes for those who like a little extra texture in their life. Doesn't that appeal to you? If you answered "no" to that question, you're probably not a stock image model, and we don't blame you. Who on earth saw, perhaps, images of women happily eating salad and said, "alright that's cool and all, but give me a happy woman eating a cactus, please." Is it a metaphor for ignoring the rougher, thornier parts of life? Is it a threat to all women? Or is it just another random stock image that we'll never officially know the reason for its existence? Whatever it is, we'd like to challenge you to use this as a reaction image in a conversation that actually makes some sort of sense.
11 The woman 'doing donuts'
Honestly, there's something kind of impressive about this photo, in fact, we've gotta give the art director of this weird shoot some credit. The almost white hair paired with a white dress and the white powdered donuts paint quite the nice image. Except, despite the distracting onslaught of white, one can only ignore the odd act being performed for so long. We get it (kind of), it's like a visual pun. People say "doing donuts" when referring to cocaine, so this woman just has straight up donuts instead. It could be part of anti-drug campaign or a bakery campaign based on how addicting you want to market these donuts as. However, there's just something jarring about this image, despite the wit and the set-up. This honestly could have been a not-so-bad stock image, but something does throw it off, and we're pretty sure it's the look of orgasmic pleasure on the face.
10 The worst Santa
Santa, what's happened to you? Okay but seriously, is it just us, or does this "Santa" look a whole lot like the one exposed as a fraud in the Will Ferrell Christmas film, Elf? Missing his iconic snow white hair, bushy white beard, and, you know, a shirt, this is certainly not the Santa we have grown up writing lists to (we hope). On top of that, this Santa, or random guy in a Santa hat, whoever he is, is having a little too much fun with himself in front of the camera. We know Santa is known to rub his big tummy, accompanied by that jolly chuckle, but rubbing his nipples tells an entirely different story. Instead of a chuckle, we imagine there are some pleased moans escaping from that open mouth, and we're uncomfortable to say the least. Perhaps this was conceived to aid people doing "bad Christmas" campaigns or presentations, but we'd like to politely ask the stock image industry to please, stop ruining Santa.
9 The extremely distrusting guy
You can't trust anybody these days, especially not your computer. That lifeless screen facing you is one of the closest things we have to the rise of the machines, and we've just all really got be prepared. Even if you don't buy into all those conspiracy theories, you can't help but notice that the guy in this picture definitely does. He's like the embodiment of the target audience of every scare tactic style advertisement, the one who believes that the government could be hacking into our computers and brainwashing us as we browse through Facebook. He's simultaneously representing that American dream of having a gun at home to protect yourself from potential threats, even if that threat is coming from a machine with no capability of thinking on its own. It may be a little extreme, but at least he's not shooting at something as costly as a Mac.
The spaghetti chic girl
Ladies! Gentlemen! All lovers of fashion! You'll never believe the hottest trend that's all the rage in the food model industry...it's spaghetti hair! Tyra Banks already had the contestants of America's Next Top Model wear candy as a barely-there form of clothing in cycle 8 of the show, so can we even be surprised that someone at Shutterstock elected to take the obvious next step: exploring the bigger segment of the food pyramid, carbs. With so many options to choose from in the realm of carb fashion, from bread purses to rice ball earrings, spaghetti hair is a smart choice. It's fun, it's easy to work with, AND you get to eat it at the end of the photo-shoot. Watch out Vogue, the spaghetti chic trend might just show up on your doorstep very soon.
8 The suggestive grandma
If the development of unlikely internet sensations in recent years is any indication, the consumers of the web sure do love a badass grandma. The iconic Twitter user "Baddie Winkle," a woman who is definitely at least 60 years of age has taught us that as long as you're owning it, you can pose in a swimsuit and fluffy fur coat without the internet crucifying in regard to your age. The point here is, this image of a little old grandma may be alarming at first, but as long as she knows how to play the game of the internet right, she could be the next beloved Twitter grandma. So what is it that makes this wannabe Baddie grandma so alarming? Well, for starters, she's holding two bananas, which inherently draw the human mind to thoughts of penises (that's just science), but we think it's the determined stare, the light insertion of the banana into her mouth, and the classically grandma sweater vest-turtleneck ensemble that really bring this photo to next level weirdness. Sure, her actions might qualify her as the next Baddie, but her wardrobe needs a serious update if she ever truly wants to be #relatable to us Millennials out there.
7 A melon love affair
You've heard of Beauty and the Beast, but what about Fruity and the Beast? The new spin-off, coming soon to theatres near you! Starring Mr. Clean's less successful brother and a literal watermelon person, this film follows these two desperate souls on their quest to find love. Will thing work out in the end? Will he be able to get over her lack of a mouth? Will Watermelon ever be able to voice how they truly feel? All will be revealed in the upcoming smash hit, as Brother Clean tries to ensure his new partner doesn't smash anything else (their head, in particular). Honestly we can't think of any other explanation for this ridiculous photo other than this fabulous film idea. We'll be contacting Pixar with our brilliant idea seeing as they're pretty keen on making movies showing the lives of inanimate objects, so why not add fruit into the mix? Hold up, on second thought, we'll be contacting Seth Rogen...Sausage Party 2: The Fruitening, anyone?
6 The girl behind the fruit
Thank god Bigstock heard about all the confusion Shutterstock was causing with their fruit person and revealed the woman behind the giant fruit mask! Now we're desperate for a back story to explain why she got her head completely stuck inside a watermelon in the first place. We're thinking it went something like the episode of Friends when both Monica and Joey get their heads stuck inside a turkey. Or the episode of The Office when Dwight gets his head stuck inside a pumpkin. Moral of the story: don't put your head inside food, people. And another thing, why is there a band-aid on watermelon girl's head, in a spot where the watermelon hasn't been cut? Better yet, why has this woman still not fully removed this watermelon helmet from her head? Our guess is that she saw spaghetti chic girl and decided she wanted to get in on the trend.
5 The placement experts
Okay we know at least a few of you are getting some serious Austin Powers 2 vibes from this image. For those of you who don't know we'll sum up the scene for you: two people in a tent + pulling things out of an ill-placed backpack = what looked like the dirtiest magic trick ever when looking from the outside. Now that we're all caught up, let's analyze this stock photo for the strange masterpiece right here. So first of all, we're curious as to whether the champagne bottle placement is on purpose or not. Could it possibly be an homage to Kim K's Paper photoshoot? Or a comparison between the derriere and champagne (bubbly, expensive in the case that you're paying for one, and ultimately a great source of joy)? Then of course there's also the positioning of the legs as the perfect window into the couple's kinky sex life AKA the view of the spiky pink and black balls that are presumably sex toys. We may not know why this photo exists or what it all means, but we think it has at least accomplished what we assume is the main goal of screaming, "this couple is about to have sex," at us.
4 The incognito doggo
This photo of a man, no wait, dog is certainly not your typical pet picture. We're used to seeing animals with little hats on or dressed up as unicorns and even Pokemon, highlighting the cuteness of the lovable critters rather than, well, disguising it. This dog is instead a little disconcerting as we gaze at his plastic human-like nose covering that lovably wet little black button we so badly would like to poke. The glasses could be kind of appealing if not for those tiny caterpillar brows connected to the top of the little round frames. The dog's face goes from adorably clueless to alarmingly annoyed, which is really not our cup of tea considering dogs only seem to have the emotions of "I love you so much" and "feed/pet me or I'll die." To be fair we don't know this dog's story. Maybe he's in disguise because he's on the run, not because he has an owner with a bad sense of humour. Well, as the saying goes, if only pictures of dogs could talk (or real-life dogs, but that's a wish for another day).
3 The most flexible man in the world
Oh look, Shutterstock has discovered Photoshop! They'll eliminate their need to put aspiring models in the most uncomfortable of positions and situations soon enough, but since that hasn't happened yet, this picture of a peculiarly flexible young man was created. People of the Internet, meet the most flexible man in the world (if we're excluding the contortionists because what they do is basically inhuman). With his shockingly skinny legs and his clearly photoshopped ballerina-esque pointed feet in front his face, this stock image model shows off his peculiar tech-given talent to the camera. So the timeless stock image-related question surfaces once again: why? Why was this image painstakingly photoshopped into existence? We don't have many answers for this one as it is truly one of a kind, nor do we really have an idea of what it could represent. A visual representation of smelling one's own feet maybe? The damages of overstretching? Oh shutterstock you've really left us speechless this time.
2 The kinky couple
Looking over stock images has really allowed us to thrive in one of our favorite pastimes: kinkshaming. That's right not-so-typical white couple, we ARE looking at you, now deal with it and calmly lower the flip flop. Honestly it's weird enough for one person to have a foot fetish in a relationship, but two? There's gotta be some kind of odds against that. To be fair, it's probably easier this way. Once one person in the relationship decides they finally feel brave enough to reveal their kink, they certainly would be happy to see their counterpart's eyes light up as they exclaim "me too," rather than be confronted with the look of disgust and doubt they've come to know as their previous partners reanalyzed their lives. But that's just our play-by-play. Honestly though, was this image conceived solely as a reaction image for all those foot fetishizers out there to use or did someone actually think that this could maybe be used to sell shoes? Because we're pretty sure no one loves shoes that much, unless they have a fetish. To be quite honest our best bet is that we're all being rickrolled by the unfalteringly strange Quentin Tarantino (and yeah, Quentin, everyone does already know).
1 The saddest of sex lives
Why wear matching outfits with your significant other when you can match our glasses to the lips of your inflatable sex doll? The sad part is, their odd matching definitely isn't even the weirdest element of this image. First of all, we'd like to know how old this guy even is, and whether it's legal to be shooting the oddly youthful looking man-boy in a sexual(ish) situation. Then of course there's the topic of his face itself. Is he crying or is he just laughing so hard it looks like he's crying? And why would he even be crying if he had a sex doll to keep him company, was there something sharp, ya know, inside? We don't even want to think about it, so we're just not going to. There are possible, albeit outlandish explanations for all the other images but this one is just...disturbing. We're gonna go cleanse ourselves and suggest you do the same.