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December 18, 2008

Creative Commons Explained

We've mentioned the Creative Commons a few times on this blog, so we thought we'd take a little bit of time to explain what it is incase you weren't already familiar with it. The Creative Commons was founded to help those in the image making business in order to make it easier to grant copyright on images and also to find and share those images. The two part function means that you can protect your work and use the Creative Commons engine as a search tool.

Let's start by looking at the image licensing. At first glance many of the licenses might sound a bit odd: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs, Attribution-ShareAlike? The Creative Commons uses a system of gradated copyright licenses. This way there's a little more lee way between a full all rights reserved copyright and a completely public image. You can check the Creative Commons license page for a full explanation.

Here's a brief description of what the symbols mean:
Attribution: All licenses require that you cite the source of the image.
No Derivative: You may not alter the image in your own work.
Non-Commerical: You can't use the image for any project that will make money.
Share Alike: If you alter or transform the image, you must relicense the image in the same way.

The search box at the Creative Commons allows you to check whether you want to find an image you can publish or alter. The image above was found using a Creative Commons search and is licensed as Attribution-Share Alike. This means that I must attribute the image to Al Abut's flickr page, and if I were to alter it in some way, I would have to alter the image as Attribution-Share Alike as well.

Posted by hthrlowe at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2008

The Art of Photogravure

Photogravure is a printmaking technique closely associated with the early days of photography. Though it helped early photographers share their images with a wider audience, the practice has almost died out in contemporary art with only a handful ofprintmakers still making these types of prints. The difficult and pain-staking process now has a beautiful website dedicated to it.

Almost all museums have an extensive print collection, but there are few resources which group together prints from a specific technique. The site has a fairly large collection of prints to search, brief history of the medium, timeline of its history, and highlights of some of the major photogravure practitioners.

Hosoe, Eikoh Awakenings, 1961 12 x 18 in, Photogravure image © the artist. Please click the image to find the original posting at photogravure.com

Posted by hthrlowe at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2008

Starting your image search

It can be really difficult to know just where to start looking for an image. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine just what you're trying to find:

1. What type of image do I need?
Is it a map, chart, a specific art work or a photograph of a historical event? Making this determination will help you decide which types of databases or search engines to use, but you should also consider using the type of image as part of your keyword search.

2. Into what subject would the image be classified?
You're probably not going to find images of abolitionists in the same database as images from heart surgery. Try to restrict your search to databases related to the appropriate field. You can find a few image resource subject listings here.

3. What's the time period of the image?
If it's a historical image you're after, you'll probably do best looking at museums or galleries, like the Smithsonian or the New York Public Library, but if you need a contemporary image, you might try AP images, Creative Commons, or artist websites.

4. Is it specific or general?
The work behind finding a specific image is usually determining which database is liking to have it as part of its collection. For example, if you need a contemporary artwork by a specific artist, try looking at the website of the gallery that represents him. However, if you're looking a general image like a woman walking in a sari, you will want to use larger search engines and the advanced search function. Creative Commons is a great place to start for general images.

5. How am I going to use this image?
Most images are okay to use as part of class assignments, papers, or presentations as long as you properly cite the source of the image. However, if you need the image as part of something you will publish on the web or in a book, you'll need an image with an unrestricted copyright or the copyright holders permission to do so. If you need help contacting the copyright holder or figuring out whether you can use an image, please contact the VRC staff.

6. Do you want a free image or are you willing to pay for it?
Particularly with stock images and publishing whether or not you are willing to pay for an image will have a big impact on your search. If you don't mind paying for images, there are many great stock image sites.

Above image Fort Jackson Military Library © AP/Mary Ann Chastain

Posted by hthrlowe at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2008

Ubu web

UbuWeb is a non-profit autonomous website which focuses on visual, concrete and sound poetry. The founders', volunteers' and supporters' efforts have translated into a deep resource for much of what you often can't find at museum sites: essays, videos, poetry, sound pieces and much more.

Some highlights of the collection are:

The Tellus cassette magazine which comprised of experimental sound and music pieces.

Short films from the experimental art group Fluxus.

Ubu's Anthology of Conceptual Writing.

The 365 days project where over 200 people contributed to create a collection of found, obscure, or just plain cool audio recordings.

image above: Nam June Paik, Violin with Strings ("Violin to be dragged through the streets"), ©UC San Diego

Posted by hthrlowe at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2008

iTunes U

In several of the entries, we've mentioned how particular institutions offer podcasts or streaming audio or video. However, there's also a great source of broader strictly educational material available on iTunes U. Many students and faculty may already be using the University of Michigan materials located on iTunes U, whether public lectures or private course offerings.

The Penny W. Stamps Lectures as well as TCAUP lectures are frequently posted to iTunes U, but access to audio and video podcasts through iTunes U is not limited only to University of Michigan programs. Many museums and other Universities also post lectures or instructional videos. In the Fine Arts category, for example, you can find everything from lectures on Rembrandt to demonstrations of how to use Final Cut Pro or Dreamweaver.

If you want to find lectures or performances from a museum, click the "Beyond Campus" button on the left of the screen, this will bring you to a list that includes institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, and the National Science Digital Library. So, whether you're a mac or pc person, art student, chemistry major or engineering grad, there's something on iTunes U for you.

If you're a faculty member and are interested in offering extra items or recordings of your lectures on iTunes U contact: UMiTunesinfo@umich.edu. Make sure to check out the contribute page on Michigan's iTunes U for copyright policies and other instructions.

Posted by hthrlowe at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2008

Met Timeline of Art History

There are a lot of times where you might need to find an example of a style or art work from a period, and you aren't looking for a specific artwork. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Timeline of Art History is a great basic resource for getting an overview of a specific part of art and architecture history.

The Timeline of Art History is generally a good starting point. If you're looking for an image with a certain type of style, but you don't really know any artist's names, you can find the style or period on the Timeline and use the information to search more specifically on other image databases such as ARTstor.

Posted by hthrlowe at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2008

Encyclopedia of New Media

Much of the documentation of video or multimedia art occurs in the form of film stills or photographs. If you've ever been frustrated by this, the Encyclopedia of New Media might be a great resource for you. In conjunction with the Centre Pompidou, the Encyclopedia of New Media is an online collection of video and multimedia artists. Under each artist, there is a brief biography, examples of work, and a bibliography. The exciting part of the site is that most of the work listed for each artist is available either as a quicktime, real media player or flash video.

The site also has an extensive general bibliography page that makes for a great resource for students and faculty interested in new media topics. The listing includes dozens of links to other video resources online.

Image: The Atlas Group Hostage : The Bachar Tapes #17 and #31, by Souheil Bachar 2001, Video PAL, colour, sound, 18' © Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (France)

Posted by hthrlowe at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2008

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Galleries and museums exhibition pages are one of the key ways to find really images of work from really contemporary artists and designers, but these institutions are making great strides to offer more than just nice images from their exhibitions. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has tons of interactive media, videos, and audio clips. The Museum has created special flash sites for about 80 different artists and exhibitions. The sites focus on some of the main concerns of each artists or major themes of a stylistic movement. Within the specialized sites are video and images, but SFMOMA also lists their video and audio offerings separately as well.

When you choose a video, there are lists of all the related media below it. This set-up makes it really easy to find connections among artists. For example, if you watch the installation of Sol LeWitt's drawing, you'll not only find links to the deinstallation video but also to his commentary on Eva Hesse's work.

SFMOMA also has an iTunes podcasts. Most of these are audio only, but they do have some video podcasts as well.

And, just for fun, SFMOMA has a feature called ArtScope. You can randomly click on tiny thumbnails of images or search for specific artists or subjects.

Tony Feher, It Seemed a Beautiful Day, 2001; plastic bottles, wire, and water; Collection SFMOMA: photo © 2008 Tony Feher
Please click the image to go to its orginal posting on the SFMOMA site.

Posted by hthrlowe at 04:11 PM | Comments (0)