Retro and Recession

posted on 20th of november, 2007

In the US housing prices are still falling, the stock market is as bumpy as a dirt road and more difficult to navigate, a credit crisis is the big news everyday and the dollar has sunk below the Canadian Looney in value. (Gotta love a country that calls its dollar coin a Looney). A recession in the US looms say the soothsayers. So what does this all mean for Dreamstime and photography in general?

Want some good news? According to an issue of the New York Times last week the good news is that housing prices are falling, the stock market is bumpy, the Looney is worth more than the dollar and a US recession may already be upon the country. US financial woes are definitely good news for our neighbors: Canadians that live close to the US are swarming over the border and racing to outlet stores and Seattle malls daily as they trade loonies for dollars and US goods. Europeans are grabbing up goods in NY boutiques as if the end of shopping, as we know it, is upon the land. But don’t despair if you aren’t Canadian or a European tourist in the Big Apple, there is a positive side to all this for Dreamstime photographers, too.

Certain images become more popular in down times. When things are gloomy, demands for nostalgic and retro images become more popular. Advertising and design themes tend to turn their back on cutting edge and move back toward safer ground. Studies show that buyers feel safer with images that remind them of happy times: romanticized childhood icons and symbols of past eras even when that might have been only a decade or so ago.

When you are searching for ideas for images to evoke the ‘retro’ label, don’t go beyond the years when the oldest living members of the population were young. Once an era no longer has living members, the images that evoke that time period become ‘vintage’ rather than ‘retro’. Vintage clothing on the other hand is anything in my closet.

From my memory…err well I’m not all THAT old here are the first words that come to mind for each decade that still has a decent number of survivors.

1940’s Rosie the riveter. Shoulder pads in women’s dresses and big hair …so I’m told I don’t actually remember anything from this era. Should I?
1950’s TV hits the suburban living room and there is a car in every identical driveway
1960’s/early 70’s Marijuana, VW buses, hippies, long hair and Afros. Nehru jackets.

Late 1970’s Disco. Men that aren’t car mechanics wear jumpsuits.
1980’s Women’s dress for success suits with shoulder pads at home on a line backer and big hair. A portable computer larger than a large suitcase.
Early 1990’s. One of the most popular stock images was two guys toasting with Champaign glasses in the back of a limo. Desktop computers as big as the actual desk.

Here’s some places that offer quick tickets to a trip back in time:
Bad fads: here
More prop ideas here.
Retro wardrobe ideas:here.

Comments (14)

Posted by Korat_cn on December 21, 2007
Retro... I love all kind of retro things. I have a big collection of old photos, hand-written letters, furniture and objects in my home :)
And what about this photo of my teen granny? :)

good tip Boughn!   Original 1915 antique photo - young girl   
Posted by Ellenboughn on November 27, 2007
check this out: Disco, baby! Sorry you have to watch a commercial first.
Posted by Ellenboughn on November 27, 2007
yes...the Looney and the Dollar are just about even again tonight. so sorry! :)
Posted by Orchidpoet on November 26, 2007
LOL, thanks Ellen. Before I was able to raid the US camera stores for new equipment, I was told that US$ is higher than Canadian now.

Posted by Ellenboughn on November 26, 2007
yes Starfotograf: the dollar to Euro is not so good these days.But over time it should all average out. At least we hope that soon you will be on the positive end of the dollar vs euro conversion game.
Posted by Starfotograf on November 26, 2007
Thanks to your ideas! Yes, crisis is also a subject. I hope, I will remember this input at next shootings.
Posted by Starfotograf on November 26, 2007
A financial aspect, all non-US contributors earn less, because they have to convert the dollar in their currency. It is a pity, but I guess, it is hard to change. (e.g. Dollar to Euro is already 1,5). Especially in expensive west-european countries it is very hard to earn money, because very often you have to invest not only work, but also money in your photo shots.
Posted by Noonie on November 23, 2007
Oh! That must explain 2 of my recent sales.
.   Vintage photos      Antique pocket watch   
Posted by Denisebeverly on November 21, 2007
hmm what goes around comes around

1940’s Rosie the riveter. shoulder pads and big hair.

1980’s shoulder pads and big hair
Posted by Rolmat on November 21, 2007
Very useful tips, thanks Ellen.
Never explored the marketplace yet, but here's your input to bring it to my mind. All the best!
Posted by Kreego on November 21, 2007
Extremely interesting comments... A light goes on in my head (bing!) - this may well explain why one of my images has suddenly seen a flurry of downloads in the past days. Its a young girl riding her bicycle, with very warm diffuse light and obvious enjoyment on the part of the rider (Here)... I couldn't figure it out - wrong time of year, wrong color tones for fall/winter, etc. Who knows?
Posted by Jackschiffer on November 21, 2007
Thanks Ellen for using my photo 1954 Corvette interior
Posted by Ellenboughn on November 20, 2007
Thanks Lumaxart: fixed the typo.
Posted by Tonygers on November 20, 2007
Excellent tips Ellen.
I'm off to raid my wardrope now.

Comments (14)

This article has been read 9420 times. 2 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Diego Vito Cervo, Terrance Emerson, Iofoto, Jack Schiffer, Mikhail Lavrenov, Norebbo, Roxana Gonzalez, Tmcnem.

About me

I have written a about microstock photography released in 2010. I was the Director of Content at Dreamstime for two years ending in Feb, 2009. You can order my book from amazon via my website at www.ellenboughn.com/blog.

Bainbridge Island, US

April (1)
January (1)

Stock Photography that BLOGS!

Interact, make friends, share tips and techniques, have fun. Dreamstime wants your ideas and thoughts whether you are a photographer, designer or regular user. Create a blog to tell your story, promote favorite images and photographers, post tutorials or simply exchange opinions with your with fellow dreamstimers.

Don't forget words and pictures go great together so make sure you choose some Dreamstime favorite pics to brighten your article. For inspiration, check out the hottest or the most useful blogs on the left.

Create a blog to tell your story, promote favorite stock images and photographers

Create your blog

My favorite articles


More favorite articles

Related image searches

retro vintage recession housing tips

Vintage related stock images