“Pictures inform what kids know about the world, and how they see themselves in relation to that world.”

Getty Images CEO, Jonathan Klein says imagery is the language of the 21st century. For proof, I don’t need to look any further than my 12-year-old daughter’s Instagram.

Once hitting middle school, she and her friends latched on to Instagram like a new Taylor Swift single. They use Instagram to stay in touch with old friends, to capture their world by breaking it down into a stream of engaging moments in simple, square frames. What’s particularly cool is how they use it to be supportive of each other. “U look AMAZING!!!!” 37 likes. “Most awesome sleepover!!!” 23 likes. “Check out my BFF!!!” 41 likes. They celebrate friendship and build confidence. They reassure each other that you don’t need to look perfect to be amazing. And they do it all with pictures.

So I had this context when we started working on the partnership with Lean In. A key focus for Lean In is being aware of the messages we send, and our culture is sending a ton of those messages – maybe most of them – in imagery. Pictures inform what kids know about the world, and how they see themselves in relation to that world. And if we’re bombarding them with images of an unattainable future, they’re not inspired, they’re discouraged. They see a big disconnect between the world they’re capturing and celebrating with their own Instagram and the one they see on brochures and billboards around their city.

By promoting images of powerful, authentic girls and women – as well as nurturing men – we help close that gap and connect the world they know with the one depicted in ads around them.

Getty Images Director of Visual Trends, Pam Grossman has over this year shown how Getty’s awesome creative team tracks trends and reflects how the visual world is evolving. And we’re recognized for creating content that meets our clients’ needs. With the Lean In partnership, we went a step further: we made a statement that we’re going to lead our clients and inspire them to reflect a different reality. Our agency clients confirmed that the Lean In collection led them to think differently, in their comments after the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival. They said we made them more aware of the messages they’ve been sending – exactly what we hoped would happen! And it’s all good for business.

I see girls picking up on all these trends with their Instagram accounts, celebrating campaigns like the Always “Like a Girl” and Pantene’s “Shine Strong.” So the awareness is definitely growing, which is gratifying. But nothing was better than some simple Instagram posts from our launch this Spring: “So proud of Getty & Lean In!”

Share with us the ways you’ve seen Instagram propel positive images and actions in women and girls, and peruse more of these images in our Lean In collection.


About Katie Calhoun
Katie Calhoun is a Vice President of Sales for North America at Getty Images, specializing in the Media customer segment. Before joining Getty Images 8 years ago she was in the media, working at Hearst and Forbes/American Heritage, where she started as a photo editor. She’s also been a contributing editor for PDN, American Photo and other publications.