In Praise Of The 'Heroes' Behind Terrible Military Stock Photos


I’m sure you’ve seen these images appear on an advertisement encouraging you to use your GI Bill at a for-profit school, click on the latest military dating app, or purchase any product that’s probably sketchy as hell. They're the classic no-effort military stock photos.

You have to ask yourself whenever you see one of these: “Did this photographer literally not know a single person in the military? How did this happen?”

Related: These Stock Photos Supposedly Portraying Service Members Are All Kinds Of Fail »

A lot of people take offense to these hastily assembled images, but not me. I consistently find myself going down the Google image rabbit hole just to see how far these things can go, and they never disappoint. Outdated uniforms, grossly improperly worn uniforms, mismatched uniforms, facial hair (not the cool SF kind, the white trashy kind where the model just didn’t shave that day), horrific salutes, terrible props, etc. It’s all there and all hilariously glorious.

It’s one of those it’s-so-bad-it's-good situations. You can’t help but sit back and soak it all in, because the fact is, these photographers are probably getting substantial paychecks from these, which means that numerous brands and media organizations are paying for these.

To all the models and photographers continuing to put this wonderful art out, I’d personally like to thank you for your service.

Maj. Gen. William C. Lee

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