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Working with Digital Images?

Grokking the Gimp Teaches it All!
  • Selections and Masks
  • Color Matching and Color Correction
  • Photo Touchup and Enhancement
  • Collage and Montage
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A Community-Indexed Photo Archive

The photo archive at has more than 27,000 free photos and images saved on our own dedicated server, consisting of over 2.5 Gbytes of data. The goal is to make this archive a resource for collage and photo-montage using digital image editing techniques such as those described in Chapter 7 of Grokking the GIMP.

To improve the archive's usefulness, full indexing of the images is planned. However, this job would be taxing for a single person, and would probably produce only mediocre results. Consequently, the solution is to provide an interactive environment allowing the community to participate in the labelling of archived photos. The expectation is that the resulting index will be both richer and more robust than one fashioned by any so-called master architect.

In looking through the archive you will be able to browse pages of photo thumbnails, which are linked to the full-size images. Clicking on a link provides you with the means to examine the list of current keywords for that image and to propose some of your own. In addition, it will be possible to examine the list of all keywords, and these keys will be linked to the photos that they label. Finally, images will also be searchable by keyword and by image association. Hopefully these tools will allow you to more easily find good materials for your image editing projects.

Fair Use of Copyright-Free Images

The images and photos found in this archive come from three main sources: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Each of these sites clearly state that their photos and images are in the public domain and give the conditions for their use. Please read their statements.

The photos you'll find here are copyright free, but some restrictions still apply. Specifically, people have a legal right to privacy, and the use of their likeness for commercial advertising typically requires a consent agreement. If a person is recognizable in an image, a model release must be obtained before using the image for commercial purposes.

In principle, if an photo is sufficiently modified so that individuals are no longer "recognizable", it should be okay to use. In any and all cases, the final responsibility for the fair use of the images found on this site is yours. The advice you are reading here is not a qualified legal opinion. You should seek legal advice if you have any questions or doubts about your use of images containing recognizable individuals.

Finally, as stated on the web sites of NASA, the NOAA, and the FWS, the use of these agencies' official emblems to implicitly or explicitly endorse any product, organization, policy, or agenda is strictly prohibited by law.

Acceptable Site Use Policy

Because is built on limited resources, you are requested to refrain from trying to automatically download the entire image archive collection. The available bandwidth just would not permit such an activity. If you have a hankering for your own image archive you can easily create one by following the instructions given in the section entitled Sources of Raw Image Materials in Grokking the GIMP.

Archive Organization and Resource Map

Access to the free images and photos in the archive is through linked pages presenting 100 photo thumbnails per page. The thumbnail pages offer a means for rapidly browsing image content, and clicking an individual thumbnail links to a page with the corresponding full sized image. The pages are organized into four main groups according to the agency from which they were obtained. Follow these links to access the thumbnail image archives:
  • FWS: Wildlife, Animals, Plants, Environments
  • NASA JSC: Earth from Space, Space Shuttle, Planets...
  • NASA AILS: ...Moons, Historical NASA Photos, etc.
  • NOAA-1: Oceans, Animals, Underwater Life, Weather
  • NOAA-2: More of the same from the NOAA---
  • NOAA-3: ---and even more of that!
You may also browse the archive's master list of keywords, view its most popular images, or help to complete the keyword index by following these links: Finally, enter single or multiple keywords into any Key Search box followed by a carriage return to find the most relevant associated photos or images.