New photography competition launched to challenge stereotypical depictions of older people 

The Centre for Ageing Better and Alamy are launching an exciting new competition encouraging photographers to capture positive images of people aged 50 and over. The competition looks to build on the successes of Ageing Better’s Age-positive image library which contains over 2,000 images. The photos have been downloaded over 100,000 times.

The competition is an opportunity for photographers to showcase their style and produce inclusive imagery that avoids the stereotyping and objectifying of older people and the portrayal of ageing as a wholly negative experience – something commonly seen in stock images and the media.

The top three winners and nine runners-up will have their images featured in a blog promoted to Alamy’s customers and social media followers. The three winners will also each have a personal portfolio review by James Allsworth, Head of Content at Alamy, while the nine runners-up will be invited to attend a photography critique group session hosted by the Alamy Content Team. 

Images can be entered into three categories in the competition: underrepresented older communities, older people doing leisure activities, and multigenerational interactions.  
Competitors can enter their photos into all three categories or just one, and the closing deadline for entries is 31 March 2023. 

The competition draws upon the experiences of Alamy, the world’s most diverse stock photography collection with around 150,000 images added every day by thousands of photographers from across the world, and the Centre for Ageing Better, a charitable foundation pioneering ways to make ageing better a reality for everyone including launching a campaign to challenge ageism. 

Competitors can take inspiration from Ageing Better’s innovative Age-positive image library, which contains over 2,000 non-stereotypical, inclusive and authentic photos of people aged 50 and aims to improve the representation of ageing and old age in stock image collections.

Launched in January 2021, images from the library have been viewed over 10 million times and downloaded more than 100,000 times. Images from the library have been used by a host of organisations including the World Health Organisation, Sport England, the Department of Health and Social care as well as universities and academics, graphic designers and journalists. 

Emma Twyning, Director of Communications and Policy at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Images of older people we commonly see in the media, advertising and stock image libraries, often reduce people to damaging stereotypes. People are portrayed either as frail, lonely and dependent, with ageing an overwhelmingly negative experience, or impossibly youthful. 

“Countering these ideas and highlighting diverse experiences of ageing is key to tackling the widespread ageism that exists across society. We hope that this competition will encourage photographers to dispel stereotypes, challenge preconceptions and shift the narrative from pity to empowerment.” 

Alan Capel, Operations Director at Alamy, said: “The saying used to be ‘life begins at 40’. It’s very apparent what a ridiculously out-dated expression that now is. The opportunities available to the ageing population are myriad and at Alamy we believe that representing that reality through photography is extremely important. Through actively encouraging photographers from all backgrounds across the globe to shoot a never-ending range of content, we’re committed to continue being one of the most diverse content libraries in the world. 

“Photography captures the truth but we have continued to see cliched and unadventurous approaches to depicting the older generation. This competition embraces that shift to better represent the world we live in and we are delighted to be involved and supporting the Centre for Ageing Better.” 
To enter the competition, photographers will need to have an Alamy log-in Entrants should then upload image entries, noting the Alamy image reference for each image and then once images are captioned, keyworded and on sale, the images can be put forward by filling in this form using the relevant Alamy image references. 

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