Popular visual media company Getty has allowed access to 30,000 images of the U.S. and U.K.’s Black diaspora dating back to the 19th century by launching the Black History & Culture Collection (BHCC) initiative.
Getty announced the exciting news via a recent press release on July 12, saying the company launched BHCC to provide “free non-commercial” access to “historical and cultural” Black images.
“Getty Images visual archive can provide a unique look into the past and bring untold stories to the present,” Getty Image’s SVP of Content, Ken Mainardis, said. “With the launch of the Black History & Culture Collection, we are proud to be able to unearth and open up access to content previously unavailable or hard to find, facilitating the better telling and understanding of Black history through our visual content.”
According to the release, BHCC was “carefully curated” from content owned by Getty Images in partnership with several internationally known historians, researchers, and educators, including HBCU Clark Atlanta’s Jina DuVernay, Dr. Deborah Willis of NYU Tisch School of the Arts, University Of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Tukufu Zuberi, and Autograph’s Dr. Mark Sealy MBE and Renée Mussai.
“To be involved with the Black History & Culture Collection and work so closely with reframing access to these images made a tremendous impact on me personally and professionally,” Willis said. “It offered me ways in which to guide my students’ research projects and to show how the Black History & Culture Collection is an active/useful archive that can be used by artists, scholars, families, politicians, and students to recontextualize the past and give new meaning to images that have been largely unknown or underused.”
Getty has also partnered with numerous organizations and higher learning institutions that previously used BHCC for exhibitions, school curriculum, and panel discussions, including Black Archives, Ohio State University and Black History Walks. The database giant noted that partners are prohibited from making a profit off of content created with images from BHCC and that pictures from the collection may not be used in any advertising and marketing that produces revenue.
BHCC is reportedly part of Getty’s efforts to promote inclusion, anti-racism, and dismantle discrimination. In 2021, the company created Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities to support the digitization of archival photos from HBCUs.