Pedestrian Group, one of Australia’s largest youth-focused publishers, has launched Refinery29, a global media and entertainment destination focused on women and underrepresented voices, in Australia and New Zealand.
The launch coincides with the announcement of an ongoing partnership between Refinery29 Australia and Getty Images, a world leader in visual communications, to create stock photo libraries that evolve the visual representation of Australian women and underrepresented people.
Available for use by any outlet or business with a Getty Images licence, the We Are Many Image Gallery will spotlight multiple communities over the next 12 months, starting with a library of 100 images capturing First Nations peoples across five key categories identified by Refinery29 Australia and Getty Images as lacking in its representation of Indigenous Australians: Work, Relationships, Wellness, Lifestyle and Technology. The following two image galleries, which will roll out over the next six months, will focus on the plus-size and LGBTQIA+ communities.
Getty Images says it continues to see increased demand for authentic depictions of women and underrepresented groups – First Nations content, in particular, is in high demand by Getty Images customers in Australia. In the last 12 months, searches on gettyimages.com for ‘Indigenous Australian’ have increased by 57%, ‘Australian Aboriginal’ by 139% and ‘Aboriginal’ by 64%. Searches for ‘people with disabilities’ have increased by 131% and ‘plus size women’ by 130%, while traditionally taboo topics such as ‘menstruation’ continue to be a strong search term.
“Our partnership with Getty Images is the perfect introduction to what Refinery29 is all about – showcasing and celebrating diversity,” says Refinery29 Australia’s Head of Editorial, Zahra Campbell-Avenell. “The representation of Australian women and gender-diverse people – in the media and by brands – still has a long way to go, and Indigenous Australians are often depicted in outdated or stereotypical ways. Our hope is that these visuals help change that.”
Port Hedland-based photographer and proud Ngarluma, Karriyarra (Pilbara) Yawuru, Nyulnyul (Kimberley) woman Bobbi Lockyer collaborated with Refinery29 Australia to capture the First Nations image gallery, calling on her own network to recruit First Nations talent who identify as female, queer or non-binary to bring the imagery to life.
“I was so excited to be asked by Refinery29 Australia to capture the imagery for this unique project,” says Lockyer of her involvement. “I’m passionate about positive Indigenous representation in mainstream media and brand imagery because it shapes how my community is perceived by society and how we view ourselves – and there’s nowhere near enough of it. This collection is an important step in addressing that problem by encouraging media and brands to use more First Nations imagery that’s free from tired stereotypes.”
In step with acclaimed partnerships between Refinery29 and Getty Images in other markets – including The 67% Collection and The No Apologies Collection – the images in the We Are Many Image Gallery are intersectional, nontraditional, and unapologetic in their authentic depictions of women and underrepresented people. The LGBTQIA+ and plus-size image galleries will be shot by Sydney-based queer photographer and stylist Lexi Laphor (@femmeasfuck) and Melbourne-based photographer and plus-size model Laura Du Vé (@lvdphoto) respectively.
“Getty Images has always understood the power of imagery to incite change, and we are passionate about elevating the ways in which women are portrayed by the Australian media,” adds Kate Rourke, Head of Creative Insights APAC at Getty Images and iStock. “Our Visual GPS research shows that 50% of women experience more than one bias — from body shape, type and size, to age and ethnicity. While social conversations have become more inclusive in recent years, traditional media has been slower to change despite our VGPS research revealing that 74% of ANZ women cite the importance of diversity in media and advertising, especially from the brands they support. We’re excited to partner with Refinery29 Australia, and create local stock image galleries that enables women and underrepresented groups to be more accurately and unapologetically represented in the editorial space.”
Refinery29 Australia launches with a team of five, which was announced in June. Campbell-Avenell – who reports directly to Pedestrian Group Publisher Vanessa Lawrence – is joined by Kate McGregor as Managing Editor (formerly Managing Editor of POPSUGAR Australia), Alicia Vrajlal as Culture Editor (formerly Editor of HuffPost Australia), Pema Bakshi as Style & Living Editor (formerly Digital Content Editor at Vogue Australia, Vogue Living and GQ Australia) and Maggie Zhou as Writer & Producer (formerly Editorial Assistant at Fashion Journal).
Due to COVID-19, the launch party for Refinery29 Australia has been pushed back to November, with more details to be shared in the coming weeks. Confirmed commercial launch partners include Uber, Adidas, Peters Ice Cream and Stan.
The first We Are Many Image Gallery will be available in full at www.gettyimages.com on Thursday, August 5.