If you’ve spent any amount of time on iStock you’ll know it can be somewhat of a dark place. But between the bizarre costumes and questionable scenery we lose sight of the real question here, what in tarnation drives these iStock models to pursue this as a career?

This subsection of iStock is honestly like the upside down or the sunken place. Nothing (and I mean absolutely nothing) makes any sense and nothing is off limits. While this sounds fun in theory, the end result is one of the biggest visual freak shows I’ve ever encountered. You feel terrified yet entranced at the same time. Your mind is screaming at you to exit the browser but your heart is clicking ‘next page.’

If you ever needed proof that art is indeed interpretative, look no further than the bizarre underworld of iStock models. Laid out below, I have ten very serious questions I’ll need each of them to answer. If I don’t understand what drives them to pursue this as a career then it’s likely I’ll never know inner peace again.

  1. Was this your dream job as a child?
  2. Do you get to keep the costumes?
  3. Is the job really as glamorous as it looks?
  4. Are you getting paid enough to do this?
  5. Do people recognise you in the street and ask for an autograph?
  6. Can I have your autograph?
  7. Have you ever wondered who the fk is actually commissioning these photos?
  8. Do you have these photos framed in your house?
  9. Who forced you to do this?
  10. Are you being held hostage?

I had the great (self-inflicted) misfortune of picking out the strangest photos and compiling them for your displeasure. They say a picture tells a thousand words but these ones actually beg a thousand questions. Enjoy!

istock model

If there’s one photo that has the power to sum up the complete mind-fuckery of iStock’s costume collection – it’s this one. I’ll pay you a million dollars if you can tell me what’s going on here. Has this man-sized Tweety Bird put his human child in a time out? Is he reading them a bedtime story? Your guess is as good as mine. I’ll leave you with the description on the photo which reads ‘Something seems backwards here…young girl in a giant bird cage, big yellow canary relaxing with a good book and reading out loud.’ Righto, thanks for clearing that up.


This photo makes my head hurt for a multitude of reasons. How the hell is he standing on his head like that? Who gave him permission to deny gravity in such a way? Could the elephant costume he’s wearing be any more irrelevant in this photo? It’s probably also safe to assume that the guy behind him is in the middle of an existential crisis and wishing he never dropped out of whatever course he was doing to pursue a modelling career.

istock model
iStock/Paul Bradbury

A very normal scene of a professional business meeting. Oh wait, no, there’s someone in a gorilla suit sitting next to Susan from finance. Perhaps they’re wondering why in god’s name there’s a gorilla in their morning meeting. Maybe they’re wondering why the gorilla hasn’t consolidated last months financial spreadsheet. Who the hell knows and more importantly, who cares!

istock model

The caption on this bad boy reads ‘A view of a king and queen in the supermarket feeling puzzled by the produce.’ Safe to say they’re not the only ones puzzled by this entire scene. Why is she smelling a pineapple? Should we all be smelling our pineapples before buying them? Much to think about.

iStock/Marcos Calvo

What the hell do we have here? I’m honestly at my wits end with this shit. A man proposing to a mop amongst rose coloured petals, you just can’t make the stuff up. I honestly don’t know who I feel more sorry for in this scenario. Probably the mop.


Don’t mind me. Just a very serious goldfish businessman on my morning commute through the pond. Hope my colleagues don’t mind my swamp-sodden trousers.


I can’t even talk about what’s going on here. You know what I do respect though? Drinking milk through a straw from a goblet glass. Might try that one at home.

iStock/Orbon Alija

Congratulations, it’s a beautiful tropical fruit. You probably thought you could go your whole life without seeing a woman give birth to a pineapple but guess what? This photo just ruined your chances of that.

iStock/Ирина Мещерякова

If by some miracle you’re still here, please enjoy this last image of a delightful cowboy sausage dog as he stares out into the abyss. Maybe he’s wondering why the hell his owner forced him to take these obscene photos. Or maybe he’s thinking about what he’ll have for dinner. Either way, he makes one hell of a sheriff and makes me feel slightly better about the sheer terror I’ve put everyone through. He is the only iStock model I will tolerate.

Stay weird, and remember to think twice before taking a photo of something. Not everything is deserving of being eternalised in an image, especially not one the entire internet has access to.

Image: iStock