Ironic Use Of Stock Photo

I happened to see an article recently titled “4 reasons why independent bookstores are thriving.” The article is cool and all, and I have no issues with the content whatsoever. The image accompanying the article amused me though. The selection of it seemed a little ironic, given the subject of the piece (I mean no offense to the author of the article, who likely didn’t choose the image).

The photo is clearly a stock image. A TinEye reverse image search lists it showing up as far back as February 5, 2013. However, the reason this intrigued me is that it appears to be a photo of the second floor of the Tattered Cover Lodo store in Denver.

Tattered Cover isn’t mentioned in the article, but the TinEye reverse image search does pair the image with older articles that are about, or at least mention, the Tattered Cover. Besides, I was virtually certain I recognized the store. I’ve spent a lot of time there, particularly on the second floor of the historic Lodo location.

At first I thought I might be mistaken, bookstores in historic buildings look similar, but you can see the sign in front of the corridor at the far back indicating that the event space is closed. I really know that exact spot at Tattered Cover. It’s definitely the Tattered Cover, and it’s definitely the second floor of the Lodo location. No other store had that. Not Colfax, the airport store, or Highlands Ranch while that was still around before it moved to Aspen Grove (admittedly I haven’t been to Aspen Grove yet). No, unless I’m seriously mistaken, that’s second floor at the Lodo store. That hallway and sign are distinctive.

So what’s the ironic part? Well, the second floor doesn’t exist anymore (as part of the Tattered Cover complete with books and all that shown, the floor itself still physically exists as part of the building). The Lodo store is still there, but occupies only the ground floor. Tattered Cover had to give up use of the second. And, unless I’m seriously misled, they had to give up the second floor due to the rising costs of downtown Denver real estate. There were condos or office spaces or some such thing that would pay more than it made sense for Tattered Cover to pay.

See how this might be an ironic photo choice for an article about how independent bookstores are thriving? A depiction of a space that an independent bookstore had to give up due to monetary concerns?

Sure, it in no way refutes the article. Many independent bookstores are thriving, and rightfully so. That’s a good thing. However, thriving in their industry isn’t the same thing as thriving enough to compete in the condo and office space market in a place such as downtown Denver. They aren’t thriving that much, and probably wouldn’t dream of being able to do so.

It’s just funny that they used an image for a space an independent bookstore couldn’t afford to keep for an article about how independent bookstores are thriving. That strikes me as ironic and amusing, unless I’ve pulled an Alanis.


About David S. Atkinson

David S. Atkinson enjoys typing about himself in the third person, although he does not generally enjoy speaking in such a fashion. However, he is concerned about the Kierkegaard quote "Once you label me you negate me." He worries that if he attempts to define himself he will, in fact, nullify his existence...
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