Picture Perfect: An Interview with Getty Images Creative Director Rebecca Swift

Images have grown to be an important part of society as they reflect the way we see the environment around us.   Swift, the Director of Creative Planning at Getty Images, plays an integral role in producing images that influence our perception of the world. When asked to describe her job, Swift said, “my role involves guiding a massive contributor photography community towards capturing the best and most needed content. This is done through online briefing, social media, art direction on set as well as workshops and events. The other side of my role is visual research, which involves analyzing what imagery is being used in advertising and the media, understanding why that imagery has been selected, and identifying visual trends. This involves data and a lot of discussions with clients.” 

Swift didn’t always think that she would end up in the career she has now. She described her journey to Getty Images, explaining that, “My degree was in liberal arts and I developed an interest in consumerism and consumption, which led me to consider advertising as a career. After a postgraduate degree in advertising and marketing, I applied for a position at a relatively unknown photo agency in London and that agency became Getty Images. Photography was a very rarefied industry when I joined (in the pre-digital days), so I hadn’t thought about it as a career, having not studied photography. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else now and I am just finishing my PhD in photography this year.”

Morsa Images/Getty Images

Getty Images has also partnered with Lean In, which is dedicated “to offering women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals.” When asked about the work Getty Images does with Lean In, Swift responded by saying, “Lean In gave us a platform to talk to wider audience about something we believed in and had been talking about on a smaller scale for years before. We have developed a collection of images that represents modern men and women in a more diverse and authentic way. The partnership then brought other partners to our door – we are now doing work on the depiction of  women with Refinery29, Muslimgirl.com, the Women’s Sports Trust, and JaguarIt is incredibly inspiring to be able to do something meaningful with imagery – it means more women are making a living from photography and more women have a voice in the global visual language.” These partnerships with various organizations illustrate how Getty Images is striving to depict people in the most authentic and inclusive way.

Finally, when asked to give to advice to young women who are interested in pursuing a career in creative industries, Swift explained that “being a creative director is about having a vision, whether that is purely artistic or a strategic sense of where ideas should take you/the company you work for. If you are already creative, be true to that, but also work out the language you want to use about what you do and believe in. Every person likes to think of themselves as creative and you must stay firm and focused on what you are trying to get across.”

Contributor: Keerthi Jayaraman

 

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