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Why are Terrible Estate Agent Photos So Compelling?

  • 9 years ago

Why are Terrible Estate Agent Photos So Compelling?

We’ve all seen them – estate agent brochure photos that look more like a crime scene than a des res. We see them and can’t look away, our eyes drawn to the next depressing image of a dank, cramped, cluttered room, or backyard.

There’s even a few websites devoted to awful real estate images, with being, as you might imagine, the chief exponent. So what is it about these images that we find so compelling?

We think we can do better

With some photos, you just look and think “That’s just lazy…” There’s the bathroom shot with crumpled towels on the floor, or a double exposure, or a jaunty (ahem) angle that gives you vertigo. Has the photographer tried to be creative? Or was he falling down the stairs at the time? Come on, man, you don’t deserve this job.

These places look haunted and sinister

That photographer… Who pushed him down the stairs? Was it a ghost? Is this place the scene of a murder? Every so often a photo will catch someone in the mirror or another reflective surface and we see the vendor looking bleakly into the middle distance. At least, you hope it’s the vendor. The weird guy might come with the house. He might be part of the house…

They make us appreciate our own humble abodes

Not everyone is house proud, so you see shots of aging kitchens or bathrooms, crammed full of junk. You see decaying floorboards, ratty old curtains and stained walls and you feel a pang of pity for the occupants before looking around your own gaff and bathing in a nice warm glow of superiority. Until you look at the next listing, an architect-designed, fully networked urban dwelling-pod that’s right out of your league. Yeah, let’s go back to the dives, shall we? That’s better.

They make us wonder: “Wait, what?”

An upturned garden chair keeping a lonely vigil by the fence, a telescope pointed futilely at a windowless wall. A stuffed bear looming over the dining table. All these things make us marvel at the sheer weirdness of the human race. What? Who? Where? How? Above all, why?

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