A picture is worth a thousand words.
Appropriate use of images can often help your reader understand your content by providing a different way of connecting ideas or illustrating your arguments. Not to mention that they often make reading a more pleasing exercise.
Finding copyright-free images that you can use on the web can, however, often be difficult. Just because you an image is downloadable from the internet doesn’t mean you can use it legally, even if it is for teaching and learning purposes. You must make sure you are not violating copyrights or any terms and conditions stipulated by the image owners before using any images downloaded from the internet. The use of some images might require you to obtain model or property release even if the image is free.
To help you get started, below are some copyrights free image resources. Before you use any images, you should read the instructions for citation. The University of Chicago Library has some resources on how to do image research and provide citations. They are linked to at the end of this post.
Copyrights-Free Image Resources
- Art Images for College Teaching
British Library Flickr Commons Photostream
Over a million images for taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books or anyone to use, remix and repurpose.
Creative Commons Flikr Photostream
Images under Creative Commons license on Flickr
Free stock photos
Google Art Project
Browse high resolution images of paintings, photographs and art collections from around the world. You can create your own collection or share links to the images via social media and email (but not download).
An online free photo collection.
Public Domain Photos
Collection of public domain photos and cliparts.
Public Domain Pictures
A repository for free public domain images.
Images from Rijksmuseum, Netherlands
The University of Chicago Visual Resources Center
Several image repository are available, including, LUNA, ARTstor, Chinese and Japanese Handscroll Paintings, Legacy Collections. Note some of these are licensed databases and are allowed to be shared on restricted sites only.
- Wikimedia Commons
Resources on Image Copyrights for Academic Use
- UChicago Library’s Guide on image research, in particular, Citing Images1
- University of Chicago Copyright Information Center
- This handy infographic for some general guidelines. (Source: The Visual Communication Guy Blog, “Can I Use that Picture? The Terms, Laws, and Ethics for Using Copyrighted Images“.)
- College Art Association has an abundance of useful resources for fair use in visual arts, including a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts
1 UChicago student and/or instructors with a specific question about finding/citing images, can Ask a Librarian. Faculty member can set an appointment for a librarian to come to their classroom via schedule a library training program.