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In our research, we create graphics rich health education interventions that are tailored to the individual needs of our users. We often have difficulty finding images that suit our needs, in terms of representing certain target health behaviors or the races, ethnicities, or ages of the participants in our research studies. Our solution: we built our own database of photographs.

The images in this collection were produced for Project Quit, a research study by the University of Michigan Center for Health Communications Research (CHCR). In order to individually tailor this web-based smoking cessation program, we hired 20 actors of varying ethnicity, age and gender. Each actor played three archetypal character roles: the Rebel, the Caregiver, and the Self-Made person. While playing each of these characters, the actors responded to scenarios crafted by a Hollywood screenwriter and CHCR staff to elicit 31 separate emotions. Under the coaching of an Actor's Equity Association director, these scenes were captured in high resolution stills by a professional photographer. The result is a unique collection of 1,860 high quality digital images (5 ethnicities x 2 ages x 2 genders x 3 characters x 31 emotions). Based on selections of any/all of these characteristics, simple controls allow easy access to any desired subsets of the collection.

The three archetypal roles were chosen to create characters that users can relate to. It's a way of making the characters more believable and less 'generic.' The character roles are:

For another royalty-free stock photography CD-ROM with images of African Americans, please visit our St. Louis University colleagues True Colors webpage. These professional, artfully composed images of "regular" people in settings familiar to diverse populations are available to African American newspapers, health departments, and other community-based health organizations who produce health information materials.