Oath, National Disability Leadership Alliance and Getty Images Launch New Disability Image Collection

May 17, 2018 • Company News

Launching on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, the partnership aims to depict authentic and diverse representations of people with disabilities in the media

New York, NY – May 17, 2018 Oath, a subsidiary of Verizon (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and a global media and technology company, today announced a partnership with the National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA), a cross-disability coalition led by 17 national organizations headed by people with disabilities, and Getty Images, a world leader in visual communications, to launch

The Disability Collection – a growing collection of images that more accurately portrays individuals with disabilities and breaks stereotypes. To expand and grow the Collection, Oath, the NDLA and Getty Images developed a comprehensive set of guidelines for how to authentically reflect people with disabilities in photography, which will be shared and promoted across Getty Images’ global network of photographers, launching today on Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

“People with disabilities have historically been underrepresented, and often misrepresented in the media,” said Mike Shebanek, Head of Accessibility at Oath. “We believe the media has the power to shut down stereotypes and we are calling on the industry to commit to more inclusive representation. Together we can create this long overdue change.”

Many of the images of disability that are traditionally used in the media reflect only the “heroic” or the “pitiful”— stereotypes of disability—when, disability is much more diverse. The Disability Collection will repicture disability in a way that is dignified, modern, diverse, authentic and human. The project invites photographers to portray disability as a natural part of someone’s identity, instead of portraying disability as something that needs to be “cured,” “fixed” or overcome. Disability is intersectional so the Collection will intentionally include representation across age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identification, socio-economic, religion and culture with a focus on traditionally underrepresented groups.

“At a time when imagery is the most widely spoken global language, it has never been more important to produce and promote a visual language that is progressive and inclusive, and to support diverse voices in doing so,” said Rebecca Swift, Director of Visual Insights at Getty Images. “While we cannot change what people publish or click on overnight, we can provide better alternatives for those looking to create more authentic stories. The Disability Collection strives to be a collection of authentic and empowering images of people with disabilities in everyday life.”

Getty Images’ customer search data shows the significant desire for high-quality, modern images that accurately represent people with disabilities. Global search data from 2016 to 2017 indicates that searches for “wheelchair access” increased 371% year over year on Additionally, “disabled worker” was up 254%, “autism awareness” increased 196%, and “deafness” was up 144%.

“Member organizations of the National Disability Leadership Alliance – and the disability community in general – have worked for decades to see ourselves accurately reflected in media. Despite some progress, often the media still gets important details wrong,” said James Weisman, NDLA Steering Committee. “This landmark initiative — the first of its kind developed with the guidance of the disability community itself — signals a promising new way forward. Oath and Getty Images understand that media will only get real about disability when disabled people lead the way. NDLA is thrilled about the launch of the collaboration and its future growth.”

Disability leaders have been central to this project since the formation, and the project is guided by insights from disability-specific focus groups hosted by Oath and the NDLA. Oath, the NDLA, and Getty Images are encouraging photographers, including those with disabilities, to join in creating and growing this groundbreaking Collection. Getty Images and Oath will be providing the necessary resources and opportunities to help content creators broadcast their vision, including funding art directed shoots and competitions that encourage photographers to capture this imagery.

To learn more about The Disability Collection, visit

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