TUESDAY 16 JAN 2018 5:15 PM


American stock photo agency, Getty Images, has today released its 2018 Visual Trends projection, highlighting the methods in which visual language is forecasted to embed itself across various industries throughout the year. Together with search data and visual research uncovering imminent shifts, three trends have topped forecasts as most prominent.

Sourced through Getty Images’ comprehensive and unique access to image data, recorded annually at 400m downloads and approximately one billion customer searches, the company’s global team of creative researchers and art directors assess the widescale use of photography across consumer behaviour. Mapping out a detailed view of imagery usage across commercial and stylistic parameters, including imagery in advertising and pop culture, Getty Images’ 2018 Visual Trends specifies ‘Masculinity Undone,’ ‘Second Renaissance,’ and ‘Conceptual Realism,’ as its three main trends for 2018.

Founded in 1995 by Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein, Getty Images began operations as Getty Communications. After its merger with PhotoDisk and notable partnership with Agence France-Presse, Getty Images’ acquisition of the Michael Ochs Archives – considered the most premier source of music photography – propelled the company into the upper echelons of image publishing

The first area of the 2018 Visual Trends deals with gender-specific representation, highlighting outdated and harmful principles and terminology that continues to remain nomenclature. Through specific image-related practices, long-established visual stereotypes may come undone, with 2018 expected to embrace a more emotive and tactful view on gender portrayal. This is aided by increased searches in categories such as ‘Gay dads,’ and ‘Single father,’ with respective percentage increases at 50-60% for both search terms in the last year.

Termed the ‘Second Renaissance,’ the swell in personal photography continues to dominate as one of the most unabating developments across image usage. With contemporary image creators (increasingly from a BAME background) making use of art history, classical portraiture and culturally decorated visual narratives, Getty Images’ forecast predicts a continued spike in its prominence. Searches for the term, ‘luxury abstract,’ for example, were up 186%.

The final area of focus in the Getty Images’ Visual Trends 2018, combines the evolution of visual practices with a surge in public scepticism. Defined as ‘Conceptual Realism,’ the term leans on the evident rise in social media’s dominance of photography, and its contribution to a demand in more authentic images. Yet responses include a more conceptual drive by image users, harnessing realism as a key tool in image sourcing. Themes such as ‘unexpected concept,’ as a consequence, have risen by 116%.

Andy Saunders, senior vice president of creative content at Getty Images, says, “When imagery is everywhere it’s sometimes easy to forget how pictures can really move us emotionally and psychologically; how they can expand the limits of our world. It’s encouraging then that the visual trends we anticipate being important to brands and businesses in 2018 behold a sense of optimism: a vision of change, of new heroes and unrelenting creativity. For many people who were previously invisible, whose faces or bodies weren’t included in the mainstream media, this is important.”

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