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Getty Images Explores Paradoxical Desires and Contradictory Tastes in new exhibition

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Getty Images Gallery’s latest exhibition, “Creative in Focus,” takes the visual trend predictions made annually by Getty Images and uses them to explore the Jekyll and Hyde nature of modern tastes and behaviours, which are erratic, rebellious and driven by advancements, but also seek peace, social good and a divine sense of living. What was once a world seeking authenticity, has now become one craving visuals that go far beyond the norm, expanding the way we interpret the world. This thought-provoking exhibition from Getty Images highlights these contradictions with a series of over 70 original, brave and challenging images.

"The exhibition highlights the exciting and original ways our photographers have tackled the visualisation of this year's visual trends"

The exhibition explores the trends that will be shaping commercial content over the next twelve months. The show and accompanying book unwraps six key trends from a desire for public good, non-conformism to technologies that extend our sense of self. Creative in Focus explores the tension between our desires for both minimalism and the maximalism as well as our hunger for the surreal and unpredictable, and features work by award-winning photographers and a dynamic mix of emerging talent from around the globe.

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The last 10 years have been dominated by a particular visual representation of authenticity, with the trend for realistic lifestyle manifesting itself most recently in “Smartphone realism.” However, there is an increasing appetite for something too; the aspirational, the surreal and the imaginative. The Getty Images Creative Research team continues to monitor these cultural shifts, indicated by the way people are searching and exploring images online. Getty Images is seeing the desire for escapism, perfectionism and glamour trending in search and download activity. In the past year alone, there has been a 248 per cent increase in searches for ‘surreal landscape’ and a 360% increase image searches for “Virtual reality.”

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The exhibition highlights these often contrasting trends; the Messthetics trend is a rebellion against the order of everyday life, whilst Silence vs. Noise focuses on making space for consumers to breathe among the clutter of modern living. Getty Images has seen a 2,000% increase in searches for simplicity, but at the same time witnessed a 1,500% rise in searches for the visceral and gritty, demonstrating consumer trends at entirely opposite ends of the spectrum.

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Andrew Saunders, Senior Vice President of Creative Content at Getty Images, said: “This year our visual trend predictions focus on the contrasts faced by the modern consumer; the yearning for extremes, a desire to be on the outside of the mainstream, but also seeking community and engagement for wider social good. The exhibition highlights the exciting and original ways our photographers have tackled the visualisation of these trends.” The Creative in Focus exhibition takes place from today (24 February) until 26 March 2016 at the Getty Images Gallery. On Eastcastle Street in London, near Oxford Circus tube station between noon and 5:30pm. Admission is free!

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