Stock giant Corbis, in conjunction with its new Preline program, which is described as "a seasonal roadshow of trends and progressive photography" that Corbis presents to key clients and select ad agencies around the globe, recently released a "Top 10 Macro Trends for the Commercial Market." It's a list with necessarily overlapping categories whose most salient feature is a sense of sybaritic self-centeredness. Besides standby stock subjects like 9 to 5 and Friends and Family, categories include the tellingly titled Lush Life, Carpe Diem and Joie de Vivre, as well as Fingerprinting-"The search for and articulation of one's unique identity; in consumption-based society, expressed through an individual's 'consumer portfolio' and collection of unique passion points"-and Hyperlife, defined as "Life as a multitasking, multisensory barrage-if you're doing one thing at a time, you're probably bored." Has anything seemed so Me Decade since the Me Decade? While it's important to realize that "you can't pigeonhole every trend," notes Siri Vorbeck, global director of creative imagery at Corbis, as one might suspect, 9/11 indeed serves as a turning point after which a feel-good vibe suffused stock photography, with a plethora of images that were about "extreme sports, extreme partying and extreme pleasure." Add tragic catalysts like the Asian tsunami disaster and the war in Iraq and this becomes a powerful photographic movement, one that required little lag time to develop. "Right after 9/11, photography took a step back from being provocative," says Vorbek. "Heroin-chic fashion photography, people in extreme situations"-as distinct from extreme sports situations-"most of this fell away and photography by and large took a softer approach."
But certain sorts of natty navel-gazing can grow old fast, too. Last year, notes Vorbeck, the big trend was metrosexuality embodied in the Metro Man-the likes of "David Beckham in a skirt and men wearing makeup influenced the whole stock industry and the whole beauty industry," she says. "That movement isn't gone entirely but it's already fading out. In the picture world, trends may last longer than they do elsewhere; in some picture markets, metrosexuality may still be relevant. But fast-moving markets, like New York and London, may already be a couple of steps ahead."
A major area that has been building steam for years, where advertising and marketing may still be playing catch-up, is the Hispanic universe, which Corbis calls Who Eres? (Who Are You?), defined as "The balancing act between American and Latino cultures: an all-involving quest to define one's identity and place in the world." Another key melding of cultures is found in the category called Cultural Fusion, which is "new and extremely relevant," adds Vorbeck. "Musicians mixing music styles, restaurants mixing cuisines-the creation of something new from elements of different cultures. This trend plays all over the world now." In a literal rendition of this fusion concept, seen here are images from a recent photo shoot called Manga, a Preline selection, by Coneyl Jay with art direction by Corbis.