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Illustrator plugs the colour gap in stock image market


Illustrator plugs the colour gap in stock image market

Durban graphics pro saw people of colour were underrepresented, so he came up with a bright idea


Sick and tired of not finding enough pictures of people of colour in stock images platforms, illustrator and photographer Tafadzwa Tarumbwa decided enough was enough and created his own stock images.
Having worked in the graphic design and advertising industry for a number of years, Tarumba noticed that whenever clients needed to use people of colour for advertising campaigns, and when companies didn’t have enough money to shoot these pictures, finding stock images was a challenge. 
“When you want those (pictures) and you look for them online you find that people of colour are not well represented,” says Tarumbwa. 
So he created his own stock images website, Stock Providers. Launched in 2017, it solely features black models, with a focus on uplifting, positive imagery and messaging.
Tarumbwa stresses that advertising companies need to create images that people can relate to in order to sell their product.
“People need to believe that this product is for them, and part of the belief process is the message that is there but also the pictures that are there”.
An illustrator at heart, creating stock images gave the 30-year-old something else.
“It is the one thing that gave me what I was lacking as an artist – it gave me a structure. This stock project is beautiful for me because I know what is needed. I have worked as a designer at an agency before, I can see the shortcomings, the limitations and the creative necessities that one needs from a stock image”
Having studied graphic design and photography at a design institution in Durban, it was the realism of photography that drew Tarumbwa to “the other side”.
“There was never a point in my life where I didn’t want to be an illustrator, but as an animator realism is hard to achieve and you also want to capture the beauty in the world without having to always draw it. That is what drew me to the other side.”
Tarumbwa admits there were challenges.
“The worst challenge is you are taking stock photos that are meant to look real, so your models are not really going to be size 6 runway models, because then you are already diverting away from the relatability.”
Tarumbwa says the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and he plans to take his creation to the next level by adding stock videos with educational content as well as stock music. 
“I want to create this calabash of ingredients that other creatives can use in their own projects.”

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