Gay, old, black, Muslim, differently abled – Delta Air Lines has launched a free Adobe Stock image library to better illustrate the beautiful diversity of travellers in the world. Jenny Southan reports

Following the example of Celebrity Cruises, which debuted its All-Inclusive Photo Project of free images of diverse people on vacation, Delta Air Lines has unveiled its Faces of Travel image library.

Totalling 200 photos and 40 video clips that “authentically showcases diverse travellers out in the world enjoying travel in extraordinary ways”, the images are free to download from Adobe Stock.

In a world where travel marketing typically shows white, able-bodied, cis-gender, heteronormative people, this is a really positive move. The airline says: “At Delta, we believe that a more welcoming world, where everyone feels seen, included and respected, is a world worth welcoming.”Young family playing on beachDelta’s tie-up with Adobe has been undertaken to “champion a more accurate and authentic representation of travellers today in order to inspire positive, lasting change within the travel industry and beyond”. The travel industry and culture have often portrayed a narrow and inaccurate view of people who travel, lacking representation of diversity in image and video content.

While Delta has intentionally increased representation within its own marketing assets, Faces of Travel is an initiative that continues Delta’s long-term commitment to increase representation that the larger travel culture can tap into: from social media to tourism ads, and everything in between, while pushing against stereotypes that have been created and upheld.“We understand the power of representation, which is a building block for this important program. Faces of Travel is an integral part of our broader commitment to move the travel industry and culture at large forward, by modelling diversity and inclusion in every aspect of the travel sector, while inspiring others to come along on this journey,” says Ashley Sherman, general manager of ESG marketing at Delta Air Lines. “Diverse travellers have been out seeing the world for decades, and it’s time the world started seeing them too.”Disabled man sitting on rock formationDelta partnered with impact-focused creative company Kin to bring Faces of Travel to life in an innovative way. Delta says: Diverse talent, both in front of and behind the camera, and capturing counter-stereotypical narratives remain critical to the concept, execution, and ongoing success of this multi-year programme.”

Sophie Ozoux, co-founder of Kin, says: ”For us, this project is important at multiple levels. It’s about correcting travel history. It’s about opening minds and attacking preconceived notions. It’s about inspiring more people to see themselves in faraway places. But it is also about building a more welcoming future together. More accurate and inclusive representation within travel culture and beyond will be essential to avoiding bias as we build the platforms and systems of tomorrow.”Young queer couple in Cape Town

For this new collection, photographer Seo Ju Park captured candid and personal moments in Cape Town, South Africa, that showcase the true joy of travel and help break away from the reductive and cliched stereotypes of travel photography and imagery.

Park says: “The push for real representation on a large scale impacts every one of us. Changing perception and integrating new values in culture and entertainment takes consistency, and it’s not often you see this kind of consistently out there. I’m honoured that I get to be a part of this because, as a creative Korean-Mexican, I’ve always craved to be part of projects with impact. Projects with representation like this make me feel seen.”

Mature couple kissing for smartphone selfie

Watch photographer Seo Ju Park’s approach to capturing images that authentically represent the diversity of travellers from around the world and hear her thoughts about why representation in travel culture matters to her.

In 2020, Delta made a commitment to become an anti-discrimination, anti-racist organisation. The company periodically updates progress toward its multi-layered goals through racial equity progress reports and has placed a focus on closing diversity gaps within its workforce – setting goals for the diversity of its frontline to be proportionally reflected in their leaders.