Yesterday, Larry Ferlazzo shared a post “The “All-Time” Best Sources Of Online Images“.
Bloggers, designers, teachers, well any content creators are always looking for the best of images to enhance whatever it is that they’re creating.
I’ve always been a supporter and advocate for creating your own. I’ve led more Photoshop, Gimp, CorelDRAW! and web based tools workshops than I care to admit. When you’re doing computer referenced things, it’s important to know how to capture all or part of your screen and even edit in your capture tool or bring it into your favourite image editor. Now that everyone packs a camera, it’s also helpful to take seemingly random pictures even if you have no immediate plans to use them.
As an example, here’s a sunset picture from the other night looking to the west from the driveway. By itself, there’s a great contrast of colours but all kinds of distractors like the utility lines and the driveway but I could edit them out should I decide to do something with it.
As an aside, if it hadn’t been so hot and humid, I would have walked to the end of the driveway to get a better picture.
If you look in the header here, you’ll see an image taken from the same direction. It’s one that I’ve always thought as one of my best and the reason why you’ll probably see an orange theme on this blog for a while.
When working with students, I think that it’s extremely important to start that way. Have them take, create, and use their own compositions with whatever tools that you have available. That establishes nicely the concept of ownership of the images. It nicely opens the door to talk about copyright. Is it OK for the teacher to just take everyone’s creation and put them on a shared drive or wiki open to the class, or indeed the entire school to use as they see fit?
Of course, the discussion will inevitably evolve into the concept of copyright and then into Creative Commons usage.
All of this is good stuff and worthy of repeating often throughout the school year. It’s such an important concept and your teacher-librarian will be there with help and resources.
But, there are times when you can’t create your own.
I would suggest that then, and only then, students should dive into big lists like Larry’s. The actual collection of his image links can be found here. I’d be bookmarking that.
I found it interesting to go up and down his list. There are so many good references there. There were some I’ve seen before and others have been added to my burgeoning to-do list for later discovery.
There are a couple of resources that I’ve used that didn’t make the formal list.
Compfight – Rodd Lucier introduced me to this resource that scours Flickr looking for images. Of course, you can just do the searching through Flickr itself but oddly, I seem to have better results with this.
Morguefile – I don’t recall how I found this but it is mentioned, in passing, in Larry’s list. I do know that I was intrigued because of the link to old newspapers found in Morgue Files. It was always a favourite place for crime-fighting detectives to go in old novels so why not the digital equivalent today? It’s one of the first places I look when I can’t create it myself.
The important thing to remember in all of this is attribution to resources that students use. This blog uses this Creative Commons license which I think is fair to education. I’ve mentioned many times, and I think it’s worth repeating especially in these days of making and creating, it’s most important than ever for students to understand that they own what they creative and should think about how others might elect to use their creations.
Your thoughts? If you don’t have it or can’t create it, what’s your go-to service?