World’s Worst Science Stock Photo Is Selected in Online Vote

Bad Science Stock Photos

Photo: Elnur/123RF

At their best, stock photos can add to a story or help explain an abstract concept. At their worst, they can look like the bad photos used to sell picture frames in the 1980s. Recently, Dr. Kit Chapman, a lecturer at the University of Falmouth, noted that a lot of stock science imagery fell in the latter category. In fact, it seems like many stock photographers have a hard time conceptualizing what scientists actually do.

So, in the spirit of friendly competition, Dr. Chapman started the unofficial world's worst science stock photo contest. Competitors included an image of “scientists” in labcoats staring at a chicken, a lingerie-clad woman pouring the contents of a test tube into a beaker, and a PPE-covered man sticking syringes into a raw whole chicken. If these descriptions sound odd, the visuals are even odder.

After several spirited rounds of voting, the field was narrowed to the four worst science stock photos. The grand prize winner—meaning the absolute worst of the bunch—was a photograph of a woman in a lab holding a soldering iron to some electrical components. Nearly 500,000 votes were cast through the initial four rounds of the contest, with many people adding their own terrible stock photo finds to the thread.

So if you are in need of a giggle, and want to know what scientists definitely don't do in real life, the thread is well worth a scroll.

Dr. Kit Chapman started the world's worst science stock photo contest.

Nearly 500,000 votes were cast in four knockout-style rounds.

Some particularly notable images included scientists staring at a chicken and a lingerie-clad woman pouring the contents of a test tube into a beaker.

In the meantime, people in the Twitter thread added their own images to the mix.

After a final round of votes, the photo of a woman holding a soldering iron took home first place.

h/t: [IFLScience!]

Related Articles:

People on Twitter Are Sharing the Absurd Things They Believed as Children

Scientists on Twitter Are Sharing the Most Interesting Facts They’ve Learned

Adobe Turns Hilariously Bad Stock Photos Into a Limited Edition Clothing Line

Funny Artist Draws “Really Bad Portraits” of Strangers on the Street of NYC for $3

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content