While people with disabilities make up 20% of the population, they only are featured in 2% of media images. The lack of representation in ads, catalogs and other media outlets leads to marginalization.

There is better representation of disabilities in the media thanks to a collaboration between Getty Images, Verizon Media and the National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA). Getty’s Disability Collection features high-quality stock photos of people with disabilities doing everyday things.

Changing How the Media Portrays People With Disabilities

Before Getty’s Disability Collection, stock photos representing people with disabilities were few. Even more discouraging was how they represented them.

Stock photos portrayed people with disabilities isolated. It perpetuated the idea that people with disabilities don’t do everyday activities, such as grocery shopping, taking vacations and holding positions of authority.

Other stock photos of people with disabilities portrayed them as an inspiration when really they are everyday people capable of doing everyday things. Applauding people with disabilities doing everyday activities sends the message that they are incapable — which is far from the truth.

Working With the Best Photographers to Improve Representation

To improve the amount and quality of representation, Getty teamed up with the best photographers in the field to capture images of disability without stereotyping.

To achieve this, Getty surveyed over 1,000 and held six focus groups to learn how the disability community wanted to see images reflecting themselves. Based on the findings, they created a three-step submission process, including guidelines photographers should follow.

Disability leaders from organizations across the nation curated the photos from the nearly 10,000 images submitted. The participation of the disability community every step of the way ensures the project’s success.

As the title states, this effort is a collaboration that will continue to grow. Getty continues to actively pursue the stock photo content that best represents people with disabilities. Every quarter the partners review and approve new images.

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