Getty Images Unleashes 30K Rare Images For Free To Honor Black History & Culture
By Mikelle Leow, 14 Jul 2022
Being one of the largest names in royalty-free photography, Getty Images is a formidable resource for amplifying minority voices, though its potential remains largely untapped. Things are about to change from here—the platform has rolled out the Black History & Culture Collection, which brings free, non-commercial access to rarely-seen images of the African/Black Diaspora in the US and UK. These have pretty much stayed hidden in Getty’s repository and are now given more visibility.
The collection brings some 30,000 images from as far back as the 1800s to the present-day Black Lives Matter movement. The hope is to empower educators, storytellers, academics, and researchers to fill the gaps of the past and keep their audiences informed about rich Black history and culture, as well as acknowledge the work of people of color who contributed to today’s innovations.
It brings visibility to faces like American chemist Florence L. Williams, who was working in a White-dominated laboratory way back in the 1970s; and the inventor Charles S. L. Baker, who patented the friction heater.
“Getty Images is committed to making this historical content accessible to ensure a more authentic representation of world history and drive more meaningful dialogue,” says Cassandra Illidge, Vice President of Partnerships at Getty Images, in a press release. “This collection was curated in partnership with a roster of prestigious historians and educators with the goal of providing unfettered access to historical and contemporary imagery which will help content creators who have been seeking an inclusive visualization of history.”
The images are strictly for non-commercial use, and they’re provided mainly for educational and research purposes.
“Historically, Getty Images and the photography industry have not worked from a foundation of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” the platform acknowledges.
“For too long, the historically dominant cultural structures that have built the photography industry and archives have been grounded in white supremacy dating back to the 19th century and beyond.”
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