My recent rant about stereotypes of gardeners in a new play got me thinking about the images of gardeners used in advertising and elsewhere. The garden-club-competing gardeners in the play typify the demographic so often used to portray us – white and elderly.
More of the same can be found by searching “gardener” at istockphoto, where these images of older women especially bug me because they convey the surprising (to all real gardeners) impression that gardening is about fussing over flowers. You and I know that gardening requires hard work – digging, hauling, and wrestling branches with pruning tools.
Thankfully, iStock’s offerings include more diversity than just older white women.
On Google image there are plenty of young people and quite a bit of pruning going on.
Searching “gardener” on Shutterstock yields mostly super-fake images of gardens and just a few actual people, most of them young.
Pexel’s gardener images are even stranger, starting with their three top results: woman with lavender, man with monstrous leaf-blower, and a green ball.
With that bit of research, I realize that representations of gardeners as old white people snipping flowers can’t be blamed on stock photo companies, because they DO offer other choices.
The good news is the arrival of an real alternative – Boys with Plants on Instagram! Whether they’re gardeners or not, who cares?