Ups and Downs
Images that reflect the current turmoil in world financial markets and it's impact on key industries will be in the news and show up in print and online for months (years?) to come whether the economy plunges further or rebounds quickly. What goes up, must come down but will the opposite occur? What images can you create for users on both sides of the recession/recovery coin?
Retirees fear losses in their investments at the same time that the family home that they planned on cashing in has gone down in value. Certain industries are on the ropes in addition to banking. Auto manufacturing and sales are struggling. Real estate agents have left the industry in droves.
Start at ground level: how has the current economic turmoil changed everyday life and what photo opportunities have it created? Produce an image of a person buried in bills; get beyond that to show the implications of a leaner family budget. Dining out is out; family dinners and cooking at home is in.
Retail sales for the coming holiday season are expected to be the final nail in the coffin of many smaller retail businesses. The Dreamstime collection has enough pictures of sexy Santa girls with shopping bags. Instead show the family shopping in winter street scenes or malls as soon as the decorations go up. Looking in a store window with a studied expression gives the feeling of caution. We have few “Going Out of Business” banners across storefronts and could use more. Luxury items and services are suffering so an upscale boutique type shop ‘out of business’ would be an excellent addition to your collection of ‘troubled times’ images.
Over 750,000 jobs have been lost in the U.S. since January, 2008. Lines at the unemployment office would be difficult to photograph but easy for you illustrators. At the minimum, photograph the signage outside the unemployment office or the entrance to a job fair. I could only find one image of a fired employee leaving the office with a box of their things;a potted plant in a box of personal items is a dead giveaway that the job is OVER.
Aside from the failure and subsequent consolidation of investment banks caused by the sub-prime mortgage crisis, another business that is suffering is new car sales. Get out to your local auto dealer and photograph some of the slashed prices painted on the new and used car windows. Have models looking skeptically at the sticker price. Use a model to depict a bored car salesman.
Can you illustrate the old habit of storing money in a mattress? That graphic is a clever way to talk about the lack of confidence that recent bank failures have caused. When bank business was conducted in brick and mortar establishments, it was easy to show customers lined up at the teller’s window or applying for a loan at the bank officer’s desk. Now that almost all banking has moved to the Internet, the ATM is the one location that you can use to illustrate bank withdrawals.
An older friend in Australia emailed last week that the only time he was going to be able to stop working would be to go to his own funeral. But by this morning, the talk at the coffee shop was that a turnaround was here and that everyone’s investments would come roaring back. Based on the news from the last weeks I think the old guys chatting over their coffee probably know as much as anyone about the direction the stock market is headed.
The market will come back. We have images of bear and bull market graphs. What we don’t have are more than a few images that get across the uncertainty of the world’s financial future. I like the dollar bills as binoculars below.
Keyword mistakes spotted this week: Search term: unemployed. Returned in search: A happy man’s face. (Well I guess he COULD be happy he was unemployed, but it was an unexpected image in the search). Searching on Closed Shops’ returned dozens of “Open” signs. Using opposites in keywords is the most consistent mistake that you can make. It returns the wrong images and frustrates buyers.
I was bewildered by the presence of dishes of fish returned on a search for “Fired”. Fired fish? No, they haven’t lost their jobs, they have been FRIED! Please double check spelling and don’t assume that someone else’s caption/keywords are correct.