10 Wind Energy Stock Photos That Make Me Extremely Uncomfortable

10 Wind Energy Stock Photos That Make Me Extremely Uncomfortable
Photo: TunedIn, Shutterstock

Imagine you’re searching for a photo or illustration about everyone’s favourite topic: renewable energy. How can you best convey the possibilities and challenges of the clean energy transition and the promise of wind energy? Could it be… with a shirtless man holding a tiny wind turbine?

Welcome to the wonderful (and strangely horny) world of stock wind turbine photography. Sometimes the standard pablum of editorial photos of people installing wind turbines just won’t do, apparently, because there are hundreds of outlandish wind energy stock photos. These photos are too perfect to be left to those bold enough to scroll through the endless pages of stock image sites. The Earther team has plucked the best of them to show the highs — and lows — of this underappreciated art. Enjoy!

Giant Hands of God Install Wind Turbines in Countryside

Photo: Andy Dean Photography, Shutterstock Photo: Andy Dean Photography, Shutterstock

The weirdness of many modern stock photos can be explained partially by the rise of “microstock” photography — stock photos hosted on big sites like iStockPhoto and Shutterstock (where we got a lot of these shots from) that came online in the mid-2000s. These sites basically opened the gates for professional photographers to try their hand at stock photos, stock photographers to up their earnings by submitting thousands of different shots, and any amateur photographer to try their hand at making photos for people to use.

Opening the field to everyone in this way has both drove down prices for photos and also encouraged creativity in staging some photos as photographers searched for a niche that could make their shots stand out. And that, friends, is how you end up with three hands holding wind turbines coming successively into focus in front of a knockoff of the iconic Windows XP hill.

Ponytail Business Man and Worker Are Proud of Wind Turbine

Photo: Oleksii Sidorov, Shutterstock Photo: Oleksii Sidorov, Shutterstock

Telling a story in a photo, stock photographers have said, makes for a compelling image that people will want to buy. When you’re dealing with as big of a concept as renewable energy, photographers have a lot of options. Even though the feel of this shot has an uncanny valley quality, the story is pretty clear: A businessman (with a rad ponytail) and a worker have just finished constructing a windmill so that all may have access to cheap, carbon-free electricity. I’m sold!

Business Dude Thinks Wind Rules

Photo: Anna Selina, Shutterstock Photo: Anna Selina, Shutterstock

A similar message as the last one, but a slightly different vibe. Fuck yeah!! Wind!!!! (Also fuck yeah, flip phones!)

Wind Will Blow Away Clouds of CO2

Photo: Elizaveta Galitckaia, Shutterstock Photo: Elizaveta Galitckaia, Shutterstock

There’s also a lot of pretty literal interpretations of how people feel about renewable energy. To wit: Wind energy will help with that pesky cloud of carbon dioxide lingering in the sky. Including a child in the shot is a not-so-subtle nod to the next generation that will surely be thankful for such inspiration art.

Girl Feels Mad About the Cost of Wind

Photo: Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock Photo: Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock

Stock photographers have said that getting a variety of different storylines into the same shoot is a core component of the business. You never know just what emotion a prospective client might want to convey. That explains why this girl who, seemingly, is angry about the cost of wind turbines…

Girl Feels Silly About the Cost of Wind

Photo: Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock Photo: Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock

…feels very goofy about how much they cost in the next photo. These pictures seem tailormade for the Texas Public Policy Foundation or perhaps the Heartland Institute.

Couple Sexily Praises Wind Gods

Photo: Phovoir, Shutterstock Photo: Phovoir, Shutterstock

Understanding the practice of stock photography only goes so far in getting why there are so many horny photos involving wind turbines. As far as I can tell, this doesn’t happen with solar panels, coal mines, oil rigs — just wind. If any stock photographer wants to explain why wind turbines seem like the perfect backdrop for near-nude photoshoots or suggestive poses, I’m all ears.

This couple, for instance, thinks you’re really cool and wants to invite you back to their wind farm to “hang out.”

Naked Lady Points At Wind Turbine

Photo: Photo-Art-Lortie, Shutterstock Photo: Photo-Art-Lortie, Shutterstock

We’ve only included one picture of a scantily clad woman posing with a wind turbine in this slideshow because we have taste and refuse to be smut purveyors unlike other websites. But if you’re writing a story about wind energy and need some sexy pizazz, trust us — there are lots of options that are much more, uh, suggestive than this.

Hunky Man Gently Blows On Turbine

Photo: TunedIn, Shutterstock Photo: TunedIn, Shutterstock

Which brings us to the photoshoot to end all photoshoots: This hunky dude holding a tiny turbine in various poses. These are the only photos we plan on using in articles about wind energy moving forward. We have no idea how this came to be, nor do we need any more information. This is the perfect illustration of wind power’s potential.