Stock art was a service originally designed to provide businesses with generic photographs for ordinary occasions.
Somewhere along the way, it took a turn.
More and more people are noticing that the average stock art image has absolutely no basis in reality. And the results are often hilarious.
In 2010, Sears web designer Mark Hauge began curating unusual stock art he came across on the job. The resulting Tumblr blog, Awkward Stock Photos, turned stock art spotting into a social media sport.
“Awkward Stock Photos is a great example of an online social community, period,” he wrote on his about page. “More specifically a social community of admirers of these forgotten and rarely purchased stock photos, or as I, and I think many others like to call them, ‘art.’”
With Hauge’s help, Buzzfeed put together a viral stock art image list, 60 Completely Unusable Stock Photos, which netted 32,000 Facebook Likes. Images on the list included such bizarre compositions as a business suit wearing pineapple and a man sleeping on a birthday cake.
Before long the women’s website The Hairpin began curating lady-centric stock art absurdisms Women Laughing Alone With Salad and Women Struggling to Drink Water. Each collection prompted a male counterpart: Men Laughing Alone with Fruit Salad and Men Struggling to Drink Milk, respectively.
If, as Hague asserts, stock photos are the backbone of online social community, the Daily Dot is ready to get on board. Here’s a collection of our favorite hospital-inspired stock art images, whose hallucinogenic qualities cause us to presume they weren’t taken in the average hospital.