Online resources for free images

Just a quick addition to Aaron’s article on Creative Commons images. There are a couple of other great resources for finding free images online that I wanted to share. The first website is called Morguefile.com and, despite the morbid sounding name, it is a fantastic depository for high resolution images that are free for the taking.

Another good place to look for images is the U.S. government. Most of their material is in the public domain, and so you can often find photo libraries on governmental websites. For example, NASA has a large gallery of images online and there is also a big collection at the USDA Forest Service. The US National Library of Medicine also has an interesting collection of older medical images and those are just a few of many public collections available online. Because of copyright laws, anything created before about 1920 is entered into the public domain, so older images are often free to use. Check out www.fromoldbooks.org as a resource for older images.

This entry would be incomplete if I didn’t mention copyright briefly. When looking online for images, it is extremely easy (and tempting) to run a quick Google Image search and grab anything that looks useful. For children doing schoolwork or for quick small-group presentations, this is probably fine, but it is really a good practice to use ONLY images that you have permission to use. As a victim of online image theft myself, I can say firsthand that it is frustrating as an artist to put the time and energy into creating something, only to have it stolen by someone for free! It is usually clear whether an image is copyright free or not, so a little investigation is all that is needed.

Aaron has done a great job of gathering some very useful online resources together and I will continue to add things here and there and I find them. There is a wealth of free material online, just waiting to be used to make your next presentation pop!

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David Gnojek

I'm the art director/designer for the KU Center for Research on Learning. I also enjoy photography and music.