Daguerreotype Portraits and Views, Library of Congress

The birth of photography in the 19th century had an enormous impact on the art world, changing the ways that are was seen and created. The Library of Congress' American Memory Project has taken over 725 of these photographs, dating from 1839-1864, and made them available to the public for educational and personal use. "Portrait daguerreotypes produced by the Mathew Brady studio make up the major portion of the collection. The collection also includes early architectural views by John Plumbe, several Philadelphia street scenes, early portraits by pioneering daguerreotypist Robert Cornelius, studio portraits by black photographers James P. Ball and Francis Grice, and copies of painted portraits." The images are of great quality, and are searchable by keyword as well as indexed by subject. More information about the process and development of this medium is available through this site.

Getty Images

Getty Images is a distributor of stock images including still imagery, illustrations, and footage, as well as other mediums. Included in the collection are over 80 millions images. The collection can be searched or browsed freely. All images in the collection have different rights which must be user verified before use.

LIFE Photo Archive

"Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google." Images are browsable through time period and subject, or searchable through the Google search engine. The images are excellent quality and are accompanied with metadata. To search LIFE images without having to go through this portal, simply add the phrase "source:life" to any Google image search.

Photographic Portraits of American Artists and Ashcan School Artists

The Photographic Archives of the Smithsonian's American Art Museum contains this digital selection of portraits of American artists, as well as photographs relating to the Ashcan School. The website is easy to navigate, and the images are very high quality.


This collection hosts over 280,000 images using a Polaroid instant camera. The collection can be searched based on tags or free text. As collection images are provided by the general public, the public is responsible for tagging individual pictures, which may affect the findability of pictures. Collection images are free for personal use.

Prints and Photographs Collection, Library of Congress

"The Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) contains catalog records and digital images representing a rich cross-section of still pictures held by the Prints & Photographs Division and, in some cases, other units of the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress offers broad public access to these materials as a contribution to education and scholarship. The collections of the Prints & Photographs Division include photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings. While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials produced in, or documenting the history of, the United States and the lives, interests and achievements of the American people." The LOC leaves rights and responsibilities to the judgment of the user. More information can be found here.

World Images

The WorldImages database hosts images from the California State University IMAGE Project. "It contains approximately 80,000 images, is global in coverage and includes all areas of visual imagery. The images can be located using many search techniques on the left hand toolbar, from QuickSearch to Advanced and ADA Searches. For convenience the images are organized into over 800 portfolios that appear alphabetically in the Portfolio List. You can use them or explore the database using Browse Collections."