Global photo agency Getty Images has one eye on the future. It has just published its "Creative in Focus" book for 2015, in which its Global Research team identifies visual trends for the year ahead -- partly by analyzing Getty's search and sales data to see what kinds of images its customers are using, but also by tracking visual culture from movies, TV shows, ad campaigns and blogs. Among the trends identified is one it calls "Future Unknown" -- a visual aesthetic that "embraces experimentation fused with technology to create a new set of rules for visualizing the future." Getty has produced a series of "Future Unknown" images that exemplify the aesthetic. Here, Pamela Grossman, Getty's director of Visual Trends, explains this unique vision of the future.
Felicity McCabe/Getty Images
"For years we've had such an immense wave of nostalgia," explains Grossman. "Everything from Instagram filters, using digital to mimic an analog and textured artisanal look -- a polaroid, filmic look. While I'd never suggest that will go away, I'd say people are getting a little fatigued by it and we're seeing the pendulum swing towards images that are speculative, based in sci-fi, and really interestingly guessing how the future will look tomorrow -- and in doing so actually create how the future will look."
Coneyl Jay/Getty Images
"This image feels futuristic but there's kind of a lush romantic palette," says Grossman. "It's dark and moody, but has color. I feel like a lot of people default to thinking 'Future Unknown' will be very monochrome, but this has color and mood to it and speaks to the solar system and the galaxy -- which can be literal to what may await us out there, but is always a great visual metaphor for possibility."
Mads Perch/Getty IMagea
"This image looks completely of tomorrow, and not in a retro way," she says. "It has faceted, crystalline shapes. The figure has a very mirrored reflecting surface and in doing so it reflects back the environment that the person is in. "It's a really lovely exploration and metaphor about identity and seamlessness and about the ways in which technology and the future are not only about reflecting the world around us, but also being mutable and adaptable depending on the environment."
David Ryle/Getty Images
"We're seeing a lot of moody and cinematic images, not all bright and shiny, not hyper illuminated. There's a mood and romantic texture to it as well, which is kind of a new take on sci-fi; it's slightly noir in a way and I find that really beautiful and really visually compelling."
Liam Norris/Getty Images
"There is a lot of faceted imagery, images that looks very crystalline, with triangular edges, gleam and shine. It looks very futuristic, but it's also taking a note from geology. There's something almost biomorphic about it as well, if you map it onto the human body. I think that's interesting -- the way in which nature and the future come together from an aesthetics standpoint."
MIna De La O/Getty IMages
"There's the idea of constant surveillance too," she says. "Anyone with any online presence has to consider these things and the learning curve is really steep. We have to very rapidly learn and make and break these new rules. I think it's a really unusual time in history to be alive because things are changing so monumentally with each passing day. It's a constantly moving target and because of that we're all left a bit bewildered on a daily basis."