understanding Black past, present and future

Getty opens access to 30,000 images of Black history and culture

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Politics, hair, female empowerment and LGBTQ+ are just some of the categories in world famous Getty’s new Black History & Culture Collection of almost 30,000 rarely seen images

Getty Images holds one of the largest photo collections in the world. On Tuesday it launched the Black History & Culture Collection to provide free access to images dating from the 1800s to the present day.

Part of an educational and empowering initiative to raise awareness of Black history beyond enslavement and colonisation, the carefully curated collection provides free, non-commercial access for not-for-profit or educational purposes.

African contestants of Miss World 1967 at their London hotel | Photo by Leonard Burt/Getty Images

More Black projects to support

Radiate Festival – celebrates generations of Windrush Era families living throughout the UK
Black History Walks – guided tours of London’s 2000 years of Black history
Black Archives – a multimedia platform that examines the nuance of Black life

The photos enable creators and educators to tell untold stories of Black culture in the US and UK – to ensure a more authentic representation of world history and drive more meaningful dialogue and inspiring narratives.

It starts with a 1900s’ portrait of two South African children bursting into laughter in 1891 and includes pictures of abolitionist and civil rights figures, Notting Hill Carnival in the 1980s, Mae Jemison (the first black woman in space) in 1992, and the more recent Black Lives Matter protests.

The collection was put together in partnership with prestigious historians, researchers and educators who are dedicated to bringing a fresh view of culture and society to the public.

Forming part of Getty’s wider anti-racism initiative, the global visual content creator and marketplace worked with several influential Black voices. Serial entrepreneur Alexander Amosu, Youtuber Wunmi Bello and professional boxer Joshua Buatsi all share their own perspectives.

What’s so good about this?

The Black History & Culture Collection is part of a wider programme of activity Getty Images has made toward anti-racism, inclusion and dismantling discrimination. In 2021, the company established the Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), supporting the digitisation of archival photos from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Meet the writer

Lisa Goldapple is the creative brain behind the world of TOPIA. The magazine’s Editor-in-chief has been creating shows for MTV, BBC, Vice, TVNZ, National Geographic and more since the noughties. Then created social good platform, Atlas of the Future. Today her desk faces the trippy side of Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, which might explain a few things. To understand how TOPIA came out of this rare brain, read ‘Mind Blown’. As she puts it: “If life splinters and you hallucinate triangles, make a kaleidoscope.”

Follow @lisagoldapple on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. (Open to freelance collaborations.)

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