Changing the world, one image at a time: Getty’s visual trends sets the scene for 2015

Getty’s latest edition of Creative in Focus, a lookbook for the photography industry and a guide to the changing realm of visual culture, sees the breakdown of gender roles, profiling of positive leaders of industry, and a lust for the amazing things our Earth has to offer as the key trends of 2015.

The 20th of November has seen the release of the latest Creative in Focus from Getty Images – the second ever edition released by Getty. The book, available in both hardcopy and ebook, is an annual predictor of the most impactful visual and cultural trends for the coming year.

The photos in the book are taken from its Prestige collection, which houses a selection of the best images Getty has on offer curated by a dedicated in-house team, are separated into three categories: Genderblend, Wonderlust, and The Vanguardians. Emerging photographers are profiled, alongside the exploration of the resistance against the digital as well as the changing nature of images.

Pam Grossman, global visual trends director for Getty Images, believes that there is an imperative for businesses and industry leaders worldwide, including Getty, to behave in a much more benevolent way, something that can be found between the pages of the new book.

“We have a responsibility to be more aware,” she says. “To be agents for good.” And it’s with that philosophy Getty focuses on the ideas of Genderblend, which seeks to break down the gender divide in all aspects of life, and The Vanguardians, those “visionary leaders who blend innovation, creativity and compassion”.

Grossman agrees that even on a good day, when we sit down and watch the news, all media ever espouse is that the world is going down the drain in the nastiest ways possible. And it’s why not only is Getty “noticing” these trends, they are becoming an active force behind them.

“The more images we’re exposed to, the more it changes our perceptions and expectations of how we live our lives,” she says.

Grossman believes it could be anything from a national campaign that shows a woman leading a company, or to one that shows dad as the one to get up in the middle of the night to feed baby.

“The more images like these that people are exposed to, the more it normalises this kind of societal behaviour.”

And she agrees there are certainly a lot more images floating around these days, with digital technology putting a camera in everyone’s hand. It’s this quantity that’s making quality stand out, she believes.

“What technology is doing is making us all more discerning viewers. Not only is it giving us the ability to share our own images and share more authentic versions of our lives, but I think it’s also allowing for us to view other parts of the world and dream even bigger than we could before,” she says.

“[And] give us access to the furthest corners of the globe, and also to the furthest reaches of our imagination.”

Which is why there is this deep fascination with the world around us, taking form in the ‘Wonderlust’ section, which shows photos showcasing the Earth we live on, as well as the cultures and societies around us.

It’s about appreciating and having an understanding of how wonderful the world is, she says. “We’re driven by [wanting]a meaningful and collective experience … about immateriality, about abstraction.”

Yet while it’s fine to talk about social change and philosophical views on human interaction, identifying these trends is also about business.

“I’m sure you’re all quite sick of this by now, but Lord of the Rings has done wonders for New Zealand’s image worldwide,” Grossman says. And she’s right: a 2012 Forbes article quoting Gregg Anderson, the general manager of Western Long Haul Markets at Tourism New Zealand, says the film series is worth $33 million of tourism value per year in the long run. Stats from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research show Tourism New Zealand’s campaign around the films “has had a significant and quantifiable impact on growth in visitor arrivals from Western markets” and the premier for The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey alone contributed nearly $12 million to Wellington’s economy the week the event was held.

Such revenue is an indicator of the possibilities of association, which means that Getty’s Creative In Focus is identifying not only what can be considered hot social topics, but also what’s valuable in market terms on the global economy.

Ultimately, Grossman says it’s about highlighting trends that are universal and have the most impact to as wide an audience as possible.

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