Stocking is the new Planking: Putting a creative spin on commercial "art"
Love taking ridiculous photos but hate feeling embarrassed by your folder full of solo Photobooth shots?
Leave it to the team of projekt202, an Austin-based usability and interaction design firm, to come up with something even more fun: stocking.
Over at stockingisthenewplanking.com—a reference to the fact the this year’s most pointless meme, planking, is so done—you’ll find user-submitted recreations of oftentimes odd stock images, from happy ladies brushing their teeth, to happy ladies eating salad, to happy ladies awkwardly shaking hands and tons of other weird shots that you didn’t know you’d ever need (but that the good folks who create stock figured you would).
If you really want to get into it, we recommend trying to recreate one of these 60 completely unusable stock photos (what is even up with 11? And 18. And 24. And 53. Really, all of them.)
We had a quick chat with projekt202 staffers / Stocking is the New Planking mods Dennis Van Huffel and Jamie Graham about where the site came from and where it’s going—and we had some fun shooting some recreations of our own here in the CultureMap offices. Take a look at our slideshow and read on for more info from the site’s founders.
Where did you come up with the idea for Stocking?
D: Jamie was trolling the various agencies looking for a photo for a project. I happened to be walking by and looked over her shoulder. She had been at it awhile and wasn’t finding exactly what she needed. I suggested that we make our own. As we were riffing on the idea, I think we both realized that it would be funnier to recreate one. So we did, gave it a name and sent it around the office. We got good response from our fellow projekt202’ers and decided to do a few more. Putting it up on a Tumblr was the obvious thing to do. From there our colleagues started sending it out through their social channels, and that’s when it started getting some traction. It certainly would not have come together like it did without everyone collaborating—which is second nature to the team here.
Are you frequent stock photo users?
D: We use stock photos every day: in research activities, wireframing, visual design comps—they are integral to the work we do.
J: We use them for many aspects of our process—from persona-creation to visual comps.
What are some of the weirdest or most fun you've had submitted?
D: I like them all for different reasons—my favorites are the ones that pose more questions than answers—like the one with “Apple on the Head of a Woman with Dart.” I also like “Man Pushing Woman on Dolly.” Without context or editorial—all stock photos are a little strange. That’s part of the appeal. And yes, there have been some creepy ones, although creepy, to me, is how many women seem to laugh when eating salad.
J: Well, I think Awkward Stock Photos has kindly sorted through the creepy and weird for us all, and yes, those definitely seem to raise more questions than answers. I just find humor in the contrived nature of most stock photos. As far as submissions, we haven’t had many that are creepy or weird, per se, but I’m sure they are coming. In fact, we encourage people to challenge themselves a little bit. Just don’t freak us out too much, please.
Where are you hoping the site goes?
D: Well, we’re a week old—I think our main goal is to keep up with submissions and publish new content. Jeff Steinberg, Peter Eckert and the rest of the team here at projekt202 have been amazing and supportive of the idea from the get-go (although we’re still tapping our feet waiting for their submission). This would not have happened without the team coming together to get it up and running. Every single person here played a critical role. Book deal? Sure. And yes, I hope the site has legs and people continue to contribute. As an idea, I think it operates on a couple different levels—and that’s what keeps it interesting.
J: We didn’t set this up with much of a strategy in mind, we just knew we loved it. So we ran with it. We’re just having fun with it for now and we’ll see where it might go from here. Although if anyone wants to talk book deals, I can look into clearing my calendar!
Have a lot of the submissions been coming from Austin?
D: We’ve definitely gotten a lot of Austinites, yes. The community here seems game for anything.
J: We sure have—and keep ‘em coming!
Check out the submission guidelines and start stocking! Also be sure to see the CultureMap staff get in on the action in our photo gallery.