Foundation Consortium Acquires Historic African American Photographic Archive

Ebony Magazine Vol. 24 No. 10
Photo Credit: Johnson Publishing Company

A consortium of foundations – the Ford Foundation, The J. Paul Getty Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation – acquired the archive of Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), publisher of the iconic Ebony and Jet magazines this past Thursday. The acquisition is pending court approval and the closing of the sale.

The archive includes more than four million prints and negatives comprising the most significant collection of photographs cataloguing African American life in the 20th century. The archive was acquired for $30 million as part of an auction of the assets of JPC in connection with its Chapter Seven bankruptcy filing.

The foundation consortium will donate the archives to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Getty Research Institute, and other leading cultural institutions for the public benefit to ensure the broadest access for the general public and use by scholars, researchers, journalists . . . and poets and writers like us. 

Speaking after the sale, Ford Foundation president Darren Walker said,

“We’re thrilled with the outcome. This archive is a national treasure and one of tremendous importance to the telling of black history in America. We felt it was imperative to preserve these images, to give them the exposure they deserve and make them readily available to the public.”

James Cuno, president of The J. Paul Getty Trust noted,

“There is no greater repository of the history of the modern African-American experience than this archive. Saving it and making it available to the public is a great honor and a grave responsibility.”


The November 2005 60th anniversary cover featuring actors Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, and Jamie Foxx / shared here under Fair Use

The sale of the archive is a coda to the story of a company of great significance to the African American community. Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation, added that the partnership to preserve and make publicly available this profound collection of African American history and culture represented a tremendous opportunity. “The preservation and accessibility of this singular and remarkable photographic archive exemplifies Mellon’s values and is of immeasurable service to picturing the vast and varied range of African American life,” said Alexander.

“This iconic and unique collection will stand the test of time, documenting an essential part of American history over an extraordinary period. We are pleased to collaborate to acquire the archive and to preserve it for the benefit of scholars, the public, and future generations forever,” said MacArthur president Julia Stasch.

“The MacArthur Foundation and JPC share a common home town in Chicago and a commitment to preserving and sharing the rich breadth and complete history of the African American narrative,” said John Palfrey, MacArthur’s incoming president.

Jet Magazine Cover 1952

The archive offers a remarkable insight into everyday of life in Black America – up-close and personal pictures of artists, celebrities and leaders which provided much needed representation in the media. The historic images also capture moments of grief and horror like the mutilated body of Emmett Till in his coffin and Coretta Scott King at her husband’s funeral.

The consortium will transfer the archive to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Getty Research Institute, pending final disposition.

“The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is proud to collaborate with the consortium and the Getty Research Institute on this important endeavor to preserve and share the richness of these iconic publications,” said Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the museum and Secretary of the Smithsonian. “Ebony and Jet magazine helped shape our nation’s history, allowing Americans — of all colors — to see the full panorama of the African American experience. Together, our organizations will ensure these images, stories and the history of these publications are well-preserved and available to the public and future generations.”

In Los Angeles, Mary Miller, director of the Getty Research Institute, which houses one of the largest public libraries of art archives in the world, said, “It’s a privilege for the Getty Research Institute to participate in making the archive accessible to scholars everywhere, and to have the opportunity to work with other institutions, particularly the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, to secure and share this central American narrative. Perhaps the greatest archive of African American life and culture, the Johnson Publishing archive is a unique resource for the interdisciplinary work that grows from visual inquiry at the heart of research at GRI.”


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)(July 2019)
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review (July 2019)
Upcoming in digital publications:
* The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice (August 2019)

A busy though bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Levure littéraireRamingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, HerStry, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander CoveI Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, Woven Tale PressThe Compass Rose and California Woman.

I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a virtual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor. Among others, I’ve been featured on The MethoBlog, on the Plumb Tree’s Wednesday Poet’s Corner, and several times as Second Light Live featured poet.

Email me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions or commissions.

there are a hundred-thousand stories in the naked city …



… at least one of them is about walking fearlessly through the understated beauty of San Mateo downtown at night. I’ve been thinking of that as I settle into my new city and my new home in an area that doesn’t lend itself to evening walks with their peace and their quiet inspiration.

“Night is a time of rigor, but also of mercy. There are truths which one can see only when it’s dark.” Isaac Bashevis Singer

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© 2014, photographs (San Mateo, CA), Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

375,000 photographs of fine art now in public domain – great resource for illustrating your poems, books and blogs

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Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced today its adoption of a new policy: all images of public-domain artworks in the Museum’s collection are now available for free and unrestricted use. This updated policy, known as Open Access, utilizes the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation. This policy change is an update to The Museum’s 2014 Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) initiative. The Met’s Open Access policy facilitates the use of more than 375,000 images of public-domain artworks for both scholarly and commercial purposes. The Museum is collaborating with global partners to enable greater access to the collection.

In making the announcement, Mr. Campbell said

We have been working toward the goal of sharing our images with the public for a number of years. Our comprehensive and diverse museum collection spans 5,000 years of world culture and our core mission is to be open and accessible for all who wish to study and enjoy the works of art in our care. Increasing access to the Museum’s collection and scholarship serves the interests and needs of our 21st-century audiences by offering new resources for creativity, knowledge, and ideas. We thank Creative Commons, an international leader in open access and copyright, for being a partner in this effort.”

“Sharing is fundamental to how we promote discovery, innovation, and collaboration in the digital age,” said Ryan Merkley, CEO, Creative Commons.

“Today, The Met has given the world a profound gift in service of its mission: the largest encyclopedic art museum in North America has eliminated the barriers that would otherwise prohibit access to its content, and invited the world to use, remix, and share their public-domain collections widely and without restriction. This is an enormous gift to the world, and it is an act of significant leadership on the part of the institution. I want to congratulate Thomas P. Campbell, the board of trustees, and The Met staff for making such a strong commitment to collaboration and sharing, and I hope that other institutions, both public and private, will follow the path they are setting out here today.”

Middle Kingdom Dynasty:Dynasty 12 Reign:Senwosret I to Senwosret II Date:ca. 1961–1878 B.C. Geography:From Egypt, Middle Egypt, Meir (Mir), Tomb B no. 3 of the nomarch Senbi II, pit 1 (steward Senbi), Khashaba excavations, 1910 Medium:Faience -William the Hippo is the mascot for the Met - public domain photograph

Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:Dynasty 12
Reign:Senwosret I to Senwosret II
Date:ca. 1961–1878 B.C.
Geography:From Egypt, Middle Egypt, Meir (Mir), Tomb B no. 3 of the nomarch Senbi II, pit 1 (steward Senbi), Khashaba excavations, 1910
Medium:Faience -William the Hippo is the mascot for the Met – public domain photograph

To maximize the reach of The Met’s Open Access initiative, the Museum announced its new partnerships with Creative Commons, Wikimedia, Artstor, Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Art Resource, and Pinterest. The Museum also welcomes its first Wikimedian-in-Residence, Richard Knipel, who will collaborate with Wikimedians around the world to bring images of public-domain artworks into Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia, and diverse GLAM-Wiki initiatives. Creative Commons will support search and re-use of The Met collection with its CCSearch beta .

“The Met has again proven itself a leader among the world’s great cultural institutions. By opening their vast collection of art and antiquities to be freely available under Creative Commons Zero, they are lighting the way for other institutions to follow,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Wikipedia’s hundreds of millions of users from around the globe will now be able to experience The Met’s greatest treasures, no matter where they live. This remarkable cultural heritage is now free for anyone to view, share, and use.”

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, MMA-NYC - Public domain photograph

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, MMA-NYC – Public domain photograph

Loic Tallon, The Met’s Chief Digital Officer, said:

“In our digital age, the Museum’s audience is not only the 6.7 million people who visited The Met’s three locations in New York City this past year, but also the three-billion-plus internet-connected individuals around the world. Adopting the CC0 designation for our images and data is one of the most effective ways the Museum can help audiences gain access to the collection and further its use by educators and students, artists and designers, professionals and hobbyists, as well as creators of all kinds. I am particularly delighted to be launching the Museum’s CC0 policy in collaboration with Creative Commons, Artstor, DPLA, Pinterest and the Wikipedia community, and for their support in bringing the Museum’s collection to their users.”

The Met’s new agreement with Artstor, a service affiliated with the education not-for-profit ITHAKA, will make the images discoverable throughout its digital resources, which support a global education community and provide tools to encourage image and data use in research and teaching.

Melencolia I (B. 74; M., HOLL. 75) *engraving *24 x 18.8 cm *1514, public domain photograph

Melencolia I (B. 74; M., HOLL. 75)
*engraving
*24 x 18.8 cm
*1514, public domain photograph

“We are thrilled to help further the impact of The Met’s bold public digital access initiative through our work in the global educational community,” said Kevin Guthrie, President of Artstor and ITHAKA.

“We look forward to making these 375,000 images available so that teachers, students, and researchers around the world can find them, use them, and most importantly re-use them. The CC0 license for these images is a sea change that will help educators and students advance our collective understanding of art and human values by encouraging their use, not only in traditional classrooms and scholarly publications, but also in new digital projects and online courses.” Guthrie added, “Access is just the beginning. We look forward to continuously finding ways to work with those engaged in education to enhance and encourage the reach of this collection.”

The public can also find images offered from this initiative on Pinterest, thus making the collection more easily accessible to their community.

Evan Sharp, co-founder and Head of Product at Pinterest, said:

“Pinterest is where more than 150 million people discover ideas for their lives, whether they collect images of artistic masterpieces or the art of the everyday. We’re honored to partner with The Met to make this unprecedented collection accessible to the Pinterest community.”

The rollout of this change in policy is an ongoing process, as the Museum continues to collaborate with new and existing partners to develop our content-distribution efforts and explore new opportunities.

While all images of works the Museum believes to be in the public domain are included in this initiative, certain works are not available for one or more of the following reasons: the work is still under copyright, or the copyright status is unclear; privacy or publicity issues; the work is owned by a person or an institution other than The Met; restrictions by the artist, donor, or lender; or lack of a digital image of suitable quality.

The Museum continues to work with Art Resource for licensing images of works under copyright or other restrictions, or for images not available on The Met’s website.

The Met’s Open Access initiative is made possible through the  Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new initiative brings its collection to an even larger audience. One of the first museums to offer audio guides, invest in mobile apps, and develop a robust website, The Met continues to be a leader in providing access to its encyclopedic resources for millions of people all over the world,” said Kate D. Levin of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Related blog posts about The Met’s new image policy can be found on Now at The Met and Digital Underground, as well as on the websites of our partners Creative Commons, Wikimedia Foundation, and Artstor.

Additional information and instructions can also be found at metmuseum.org/openaccess.

#MetOpenAccess

More detail HERE.

This post courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Please feel free to reblog or link to.  

EXPERIMENTS in iPhoneOgraphy and Video

IMG_8736

Way back when, one of my main motivations for ditching my flip phone and getting a smart phone (best thing I ever did) was the camera. As much as anything, I got my iPhone 5c to take, edit and manipulate photos. I wanted to be able to illustrate poems and other works.

I’ve also had some ideas for videos I’d like to make and the video below is my first experiment. I used Animoto, a cloud-based service founded in 2006 according to Wikipedia. Honestly, it was just the first service that came up when I started my search. No analysis went into the selection. I didn’t comparison shop. Since I’ve never done this before, I can’t tell you how easy or not Animoto is to use relative to other tools.  The video is not exactly what I envisioned, but the problem is mine, not Animoto. After awhile I just got tired of fussing over which photos, what order and what music.

I found Animoto easy – intuitive, as they say – to use and affordable, though that’s a relative thing.  The videos are loaded into a WordPress post the same way you’d load a YouTube video  – by using the URL. Easy.

You can log into Animoto and play around without making any committment to buy, so if it’s something you want to try too – GO FOR IT. The site offers direction, information on copyright, a limited selection of music and even stock photographs if you don’t have your own. Not bad. $8 a month if you pay for an entire year. Otherwise it’s $16 a month.  That’s just the basic package. There are two other options.

If you are viewing this from email, it’s likely you’ll have to link through to watch the video.