If you’re looking for inspiration, knowledge, or want to trace the history of photography, here’s something for you. Europeana Collections’ impressive digital gallery features 2.2 million images, covering the first 100 years of photography. Among the featured names, there are Man Ray, Julia Margaret Cameron, Eadweard Muybridge and Nicola Perscheid, to name a few. The photographs come from 34 countries, and many of them are free for the visitors to download and use.
Photoconsortium, the International Consortium for Photographic Heritage, started this project in collaboration with Europeana. The goal was to promote photography and photographic heritage. As Mr. Douglas McCarthy states in the Europeana blog, over 50 European institutions in 34 countries contributed with the scanned historical photos. As a result, there’s a truly impressive number of images for all of us to browse and use.
When you open the website, you will be able to search it based on different criteria. You can pick the collection and the type of media you want to browse through. Also, you can add the parameters like country, language and institution. What’s very important and useful is that there’s also a criterion about usage. If you need photos for other purposes than personal, you can apply the “Free Re-use” search filter. Lastly, you can explore the website in 23 different languages. I used some of my time on the website to browse through the photos from my country. I really enjoyed the images, and here are two of them below:
In addition to photography, Europeana’s website also features collections of Art, Music and Fashion. They are arranged into galleries, so you can browse through different kinds of art divided by various topics. Of course, there are plenty of photos in these categories as well. You can also explore different topics through online exhibitions. The first one, in honor of starting the Photography collection, is named Industrial Photography in the Machine Age. If you’d like to take a look, you can view it here.
Although not all images are copyright free, this gallery still offers an incredible source of photos. It’s a valuable resource of knowledge, and I’m sure you’ll find it useful for research, learning, or simply enjoyment. And in case you need additional resources and more copyright free images, you can check out Met Museum’s digital collection as well.
Cover images: Nicola Perscheid – “Venedig – Canale Grande” and “Portrait of John Hertzberg”