Representation matters! The visual content creator and global marketplace Getty Images has launched the Black History & Culture Collection (BHCC), a collection of almost 30,000 rarely seen images of the Black African diaspora in the US and UK from the 19th century to the present day.
The initiative was created to provide free access to historical and cultural images for educators, scholars, researchers and content creators, enabling them to tell untold stories about Black culture. The collection is available for projects that focus on teaching the history and cultures of the Black African diaspora.
“Getty Images is committed to making this historical content accessible to ensure a more authentic representation of world history and to create a more meaningful dialogue,” said Cassandra Illidge, vice president of partnerships at Getty Images.
“This collection was developed in partnership with a roster of prestigious historians and educators with the goal of providing unfettered access to historical and contemporary imagery that will assist content creators who have sought an inclusive visualisation of history.”
Getty Images worked with internationally renowned scholars, historians and educators on the project, including Dr Deborah Willis of NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Jina DuVernay of Clark Atlanta University, Dr Tukufu Zuberi of the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr Mark Sealy MBE and Renée Mussai of Autograph (UK).
The Black History & Culture Collection has also collaborated with organisations and educational institutions, including Black Archives, Radiate Festival, Black History Walks, and others who have already used the collection in educational programmes, exhibitions and dialogues on key events from the past, both known and unpublished.
Several influential black voices were invited to participate in the collection launch, including Alexander Amosu, Wunmi Bello, Joshua Buatsi, Tiffani McReynolds and others, to share their perspectives on the historical material discovered in the collection.
“Getty Images’ visual archive can provide a unique look at the past and bring untold stories to the present,” added Ken Mainardis, SVP of content at Getty Images.
“With the launch of the Black History & Culture collection, we are proud to be able to unearth and open access to previously unavailable or hard-to-find content, facilitating better storytelling and understanding of black history through our visual content.”
This content initiative is part of a wider programme of activity by Getty Images supporting anti-racism, inclusion and the dismantling of discrimination. In 2021, the company established the Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), which support the digitalisation of archival photos from historically black colleges and universities.
Content created from the collection by partners must not generate revenue or be included in revenue-generating advertising or marketing.