Stop Using My Photos

Teisha LeShea
4 min readOct 21, 2022

Over one million images and you decided to choose mine?

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

I have a bone to pick with writers on Medium; as you will read, 90% is a rant, and 10% will be solution based. I hate math, so don’t beat me up too much. This isn’t a severe piece; this is a coincidence piece. I respect all Medium writers, and as creatives, we should be allowed the same creative freedom as the next person.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated.

It’s hard to enjoy my day of reading and writing without being instantly annoyed about the images I see and witness daily. This recycling of Unsplash images amongst the community needs to stop. I’m tired of looking at a repeat of photos I’ve used for my stories.

Do these photos belong to me? No, but why mine? Here I am thinking some lovely individual reposted my work to find out it’s a different story.

Strangely, the same ten get used with over one million photos. Either the photographers are lazy, I have good taste in choosing pictures, or I’m just lazy (as someone who is constantly healing, I find it difficult to blame other people. I’m always thinking about the part I played).

Let’s continue the rant.

Either way, I find it annoying. It feels like my piece went down in value because of the same photo being used. As writers, you would question why I care about the image more than what was written? I can’t separate the two. I use the image to pique your interest as a reader and hook you in with my words. After seeing my photo in one hundred different articles, people would skip mine because you get tired of seeing the same image at some point.

Others may say, “use another source.” Like Pixabay? That site isn’t user-friendly to me, and they need to do a better job creating a clean and easy-to-navigate site. I always leave empty-handed after visiting the site because my favorite photos are behind a paywall. Although the option says FREE, I can never locate the free images. I’ve filtered and adjusted my search keywords to end up with ideas that aren’t free.

In all seriousness, I thank the photographers of Unsplash for allowing a broke writer like me to use her creativity to tell a story.

Here are some photos I’ve used more than once throughout the Medium world.

Teisha LeShea

Writing stories for healing and clarity. Email