Stock Photo Stereotype Examples

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135215_pastedImage_4.pngLast week, I wrote about a Stock Photo Stereotypes Assignment that asked student to explore stereotypes in relationship to stock photography and then create their own satirical article, in the style of a Buzzfeed article. Now that I have had a chance to see all their work, I want to share some of their work with you.

Certain themes were repeated in their work, like the necessity of multitasking and the role of ramen in the student diet. One group focused exclusively on the fact that College Students are Addicted to Caffeine. There were several jokes about students not paying attention, with students focusing on Netflix and video games instead of whatever the class was doing.

  • #Facts About Student Life at Virginia Tech This group shares crucial realities such as ”Netflix has the power to erase time” and “Mom knows everything,” with some images that could easily be part of an iStockPhotos collection.
  • Our College Album Covers Not quite stock photography, the images this group created parodied album covers, replacing the original title with a stereotype about college students. Taylor Swift’s 1989 album cover became 1989 Thousand Dollars in Debt, with a weeping college student standing in for Swift in the Polaroid.
  • Traits of Exceptional College Students!!! These four students poked at racial and gender stereotypes by positioning themselves in roles like Chinese Student Exhausted from Math and Culturally Diverse African American Student.
  • College Kids: What Are They? This group included two drama majors, who hammed it up in front of the camera. While they were clearly having fun, they took on some tough topics: race, politics, political correctness, and the high cost of tuition. Rather than sticking to the minimum requirement, they included eleven photos, with pairs showing a storyline.

You can find more examples on the projects website for my course. They're all fun. Some could use a little revision, but our course calendar hasn’t allowed time to work on them further. I will definitely do the project again, possibly focusing on slightly different stereotypes. Stereotypes about college football could be a great theme for the fall term. I think I want to work on the project earlier in the semester as well. It did a great job building community, so working on it during the first weeks of the semester would help bring the class together.

Part of the success to this project was the small group work. Students had to collaborate and enjoyed getting to know one another. Do you have group projects that help build community? Please tell me about your projects by leaving a comment below.

[Photo: Nikon CoolPix S560 by slgckgc, on Flickr]

About the Author
Traci Gardner, known as "tengrrl" on most networks, writes lesson plans, classroom resources, and professional development materials for English language arts and college composition teachers. She is the author of Designing Writing Assignments, a contributing editor to the NCTE INBOX Blog, and the editor of Engaging Media-Savvy Students Topical Resource Kit.