A few months back, Delta Air Lines, Adobe and creative company Kin dispatched photographer Seo Ju Park to Amsterdam and Mexico City, where she took more than 1,000 shots of diverse folks seeing the sights and visiting local landmarks. Now, 100 of those images form "Faces of Travel," a free visual Adobe Stock library designed to reflect a more inclusive and accurate view of travel worldwide.
Among the pictures you'll find a queer couple cruising on a canal and mixed families biking through ancient streets. In some shots, two hijabi girlfriends paddle across a lake. In others, differently abled athletes trek through the forest near a roaring waterfall.
The collection is now available through Adobe Stock for agencies, brands and content creators.
Proclaiming "The world looks good on you—we welcome you to see more of it," the :60 below, featuring warm, welcoming narration from Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis, captures some highlights.
In a BTS reel, Seo Ju explains the personal nature of the project.
"We get to normalize that we all travel," she says. "All people from all races, all backgrounds. It's important to me as a person of color to see myself in travel photograph, in media. I just want people to feel secure that they can explore without having to change who they are."
Though travel has largely resumed after a pandemic lull, Delta's results—like those of many airlines—continue to lag. Accordingly, "Faces of Travel" represents an effort to bring a broader group of customers into the fold. The approach feels on point, given recent Ipsos research (PDF link) that shows 60 percent of ethnic and racial minorities—and half of all respondents—prefer to engage with brands that represent and celebrate different groups in society. At the same time, studies show that people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community can feel hesitant about travel, owing to concerns about acceptance and personal safety.
Below, Kin founders Kwame Taylor-Hayford and Sophie Ozoux reveal how "Faces of Travel" came about and discuss their hopes for the initiatve.
Muse: How'd the project get off the ground?
Sophie Ozoux: Delta's purpose is to connect the world. They are committed to diversifying travel culture and consciously promoting inclusion to create a sense of belonging. We saw an opportunity for the brand to take a leadership role in addressing the challenge of visibility and representation within the travel industry. As we looked into the data, we realized there were so many stories of diverse people feeling unseen in travel content and unsafe when traveling. We felt this needed to change, so we set out to create a bold initiative that would inspire more people to get out and see the world.
Judging from the data, it seems such efforts are long overdue.
Sophie Ozoux: Society has been having a real conversation and debate on the importance of representation, and many industries have made progress, but the travel industry hasn't really evolved and made its mark. That's paradoxical, in that travel is often all about meeting and connecting with people who are very different from you.
Who will use these images?
Kwame Taylor-Hayford: Our goal is to ensure that a maximum number of people in the creative and travel industries—makers, creators, journalists—have access to these visuals and feel inspired to use them. Adobe Stock will help amplify the narrative around representation, bring it to its 3 million members and promote the use of the assets.
There's a line in the campaign that seems to sum it all up: "Your journey is yours to own." Obviously, it's tough to own your journey if you don't even see yourself reflected in travel ads.
Kwame Taylor-Hayford: It's so important, as a person of color, to see yourself out in the world, in movies, on TV, in magazines and in advertising. That line in our anthem film, voiced by Viola Davis, is an important reminder that we can create our own adventures and ultimately our own destiny. It's especially impactful hearing these words from someone who has defied so many odds and expectations to become one of the greatest actors of our generation.
How'd you choose Seo Ju as your photographer?
Kwame Taylor-Hayford: Yes, we considered a few different photographers for this project, but from our first conversation with Seo Ju it was clear to us that she was the one. Beyond her photojournalistic approach, incredible eye for dynamic compositions and ability to make people very comfortable in front of the camera, she really connected with the ambition of the project. She was born in Mexico to Korean parents, and grew up navigating both cultures, which made her very aware of the comfort and confidence we wanted to convey with these visuals.