Sheryl Sandberg, the famous Facebook executive whose Lean In initiative has galvanized attention around re-calibrating the image of contemporary women, is now getting literal in her efforts. Sandberg is going right at the source, where the images live. Knowing that little in life is as influential as a picture (worth a thousand words, you know), Sandberg’s organization, Lean In, has partnered with Getty Images, one of the world’s largest purveyors of imagery. Not surprising for a digital operative, Sandberg’s solution starts with the data. The three most-searched terms in Getty’s image database are “women,” “business” and “family,” according to the New York Times.
Lean In teamed with Getty to create a special Lean In Collection, comprising images that naturally portray women in positions of strength–scalpel in hand or half-pipe below, with hardly a headset or spatula in sight. And the new enterprise stays true to the guiding ethos of Silicon Valley: for change to take hold, it must be lucrative. So while winning points for good citizenship, Getty also hopes to reap financial rewards from the collection. And the photos are likely to be popular, even oversubscribed. Skewing hip and contemporary–most would look right at home in a Dwell magazine shoot–they feature women who are real and ready. And technologically savvy, too–tablets abound. The Getty Images catalog has over 150 million images and the new Lean In Collection will begin with just 2,500. That’s less than two-tenths of one percent. (But hey, maybe it’s the top two-tenths of one percent–also, coincidentally, Sandberg’s income bracket.) The phrase Lean In means to work hard and give it your all. It’s a good start, but to compile a collection of pictures big enough to tell the story Sandberg wants to tell, Getty will have to lean way, way in.