At Fracture we love when a photo is gorgeous— composed well and an excellent shot overall.
But we also REALLY love when a photo tells a story and conveys an authentic emotion. As a result of these two…
Often they are well-shot, well-lit, generally great photos of someone or a group of people or any number of things.
But often they also have this feeling of fakeness and they lack authenticity and personality.
Lucky for us, David Sherry decided to do something about it.
He is one of the founders of Death to the Stock Photo, a company out to redefine and re-energize the Stock Photography industry in the best possible way— by telling stories with photos.
We caught up with David and asked him a few questions about Death To Stock and stock photography. We hope you enjoy!
“Why not help a bunch of creatives instead of just one brand with their content needs?”
Who is David Sherry?
I’m a creative from good ol’ Columbus, OH. I love to build communities and help create brands that people feel an attachment to. I have way too many hobbies, and you can find me in any number coffee shops every day.
Can you think of the moment (or moments) that first ignited your passion to start Death to Stock?
It was part problem solving part revenge! No I’m kidding, but I had wanted to travel for 6-12 months working on something, I just wasn’t sure what. I ended up pitching some local companies on this idea of me joining their team as a 1 man content generating machine. I saw this problem that brands were having of needing a constant stream of quality content to fill their social channels and blog. So my pitch was this: “Let me travel around the US taking photos, shooting video, writing and basically just hooking you up with more than enough content to fit your needs”
BUT everyone said no. Which ended up being great because then I teamed up with Allie and we said, “well, why not help a bunch of creatives instead of just one brand with their content needs? We have all this photo content in our dropbox just sitting around.. why not share it?”
And now we’re here 🙂
What is the ultimate goal of Death to Stock?
It wasn’t to kill the stock photo, it was to remove the barriers for people to create. Sometimes you don’t want to start the blog post or design work if you don’t have the right photos. So we’re removing that excuse. I’d say we’re also working to build authenticity back into the craft. For example a portion of our photos come from real people on real trips or pursuing creative projects. Every month we fund one creative one of these projects and then our premium community gets the photos. All the stories are real. We think it adds to the content when people understand the story behind it.
Have you ever been confused with a revolutionary financial idealist?
HA! No. BUT I do believe in people and stories and connection as the backbone of how to build any brand that people can fall in love with. To me there are so many opportunities to improve your relationship with your customers in a very real way that’s just very missed by organizations that are droning on with the average.
One thing I am an idealist about is that I believe everyone has a chance to build their own lifestyle. “Death to stock” is more than photos, it’s an aspiration to help you follow your own path. We have no answers to what that path *should* be, rather it’s what you want it to be. There’s no right answers to what that should be, but we believe that people should be true to themselves and the path that they are on.
Have you ever actually murdered a stock photo?
Nah but a few times when I’m at work alone, I pretend I’m a James Bond of the internet.
You are a photographer yourself. What camera(s) do you usually use to take photos?
I use the Fuji XT1, recently switching away from my old love the Canon 6D with a 35mm lens. I love the fuji because I travel a lot and it’s so light and compact. Plus it looks great, can connect right to your phone, and has some really nice glass. Now I shoot with the 56mm.
How many photographers contribute to Death to Stock?
Allie is amazing and shoots about 70% of our content. You can see her work ALL over the internet, it’s crazy. Then we have a few photographers that we have a great relationship with who contribute each month. Last we do the monthly trips with one or two photographers. So anywhere between 2-5 a month.
“I want to feel like I’m there.
I want to feel like it’s real.”
What is it about a typical stock photo that makes it so unappealing at times? Sometimes a photo can be perfect in theory but when you’re looking at it, just “ugh, no way.”
To me, it’s all in the story behind the photo. If you’re forcing a situation, like “lady with a spoon sitting on a trampoline.” There’s no soul there. And it’s just plain weird.
Contrast that with a recent trip we funded; a 16 year old photographer from Detroit who went on a road trip through Northern Michigan with his friends to show people how beautiful the state can be. Nothing was planned they just were themselves and captured the moments that they felt were special from their trip.
I want to feel like I’m there. I want to feel like it’s real.
Do you have any advice for photographers who would be interested in selling their photography but want their photography to rise above the “bleh” of normal stock photography?
You have an AMAZING opportunity right now. The internet is visual. Telling stories visually is huge for brands so I think there are more great ways to spread your work than ever before. Work on empowering people and I have no doubt that you’ll feel the love in return.
Big big thanks to David for doing this interview and we hope you’re all inspired to focus on telling stories with your photos, whether they are creative assets for a brand or company, or photos of your own life and adventures, tell your story.
“You have an AMAZING opportunity right now.”