Beautiful Printable Images
If you are looking for some fantastic vintage images, the collection at the New York Public Library is an unbelievable resource. This collection is is full of thousands of vintage images that are in the public domain.
Well it could be tens of thousands, we completely lost track when we were searching. We lost track of time, we lost count, we might have lost our minds but that’s subjective.
The public domain designation means that these images have no known US copyright. What this means for you is that you may print and use these images at no cost.
You can use these to create a gallery wall or postcards or a screen saver for your computer.
This is great news for fans of vintage images – raise your hand and join us! Whoot Whoot!
Go search the New York Public Library Digital Collection!
We started off browsing just to pick out a few images to share with you, and then we looked up later to realize that we had spent an hour and picked out so many images. Insert a sheepish grin here while we are considering all the ways to use these!
This collection is just mind boggling. There are so many drawings and sketches to find and each search turns up new treasures.
We narrowed down a selection of spring botanicals for you here! You’re welcome!
Be prepared to invest a lot of time in this process though. Once you find something you like it leads to another and another, and well, you know the drill.
Oh we will be sharing more for you, you can be sure of that! There are so many great images that we are working on putting then into smaller collections. And we’ve got some projects in the works too so you’ll have some great ideas on how to use them!
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What is a Public Domain Image?
First let’s talk about what a public domain image actually is.
Copyright.gov explains the public domain as follows: “A work of authorship is in the “public domain” if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.”
Not all the images in this collection are public domain, but thousands of them are. Yes, literally, thousands. When you search you can click the box that says “Show Only Public Domain” and it will filter those. Once you find a photo you can scroll down to see what sizes it’s available in and pick the size of the file.
Of course once you download the image there’s no end to what you can do with it. Just a few ideas on how to use them at home or work:
- Screen Savers
- Social Media
More Public Domain Image Resources
Of course this isn’t the only place to find great images that are in the public domain, but it is such a huge resource that we feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface.
Not all the public domain images are going to be vintage either, so we’ve included a list of places to find a few others that might interest you!
Many government websites also have all forms of media that are not copyrighted and are freely available for use so that’s a great place to start. Here are a few to check out.
Side note – when you’re searching be sure that you know the rules to each site. If you are using the images for your own personal use you are probably fine but it’s up to you to know the rules. These site’s all have copyright information readily available for you!
NASA’s website offers access to many of their images, audio files, videos and other media, which are generally not copyrighted and freely available for use. The link will take you to their media policy and you can click on the Gallery tab to start searching.
There are some amazing satellite photos and loads of great information for anyone interested in space and space exploration.
This image looks like an abstract painting to me, but it’s the surface of Jupiter. This was taken from the Juno Spacecraft in February 2019 and is a great example of finding images that you might not expect.
Wikimedia Commons is a huge repository of images. It also contains music, and video. The difference here is that wikimedia owns almost none of the content so each image has to be checked because virtually anyone can add images.
Many of these are free to use but you will need to click on each one to find the information. So while we love the fact that we can find anything, literally a picture of anything, here, it’s a more time consuming process to search.
All you have to do to get started here is type what you’re searching for in the search box. It will usually bring up a menu of items to filter down exactly what you’re looking for.