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11. Take some pictures

June 19, 2012

I have a lot of photos. I don’t even think I take that many, but there still seem to be hundreds on my computer, from holidays and birthdays and random photo-taking days. I would definitely be outdone by some of my friends, who take cameras everywhere, or just use their phones to permanently document their lives – and somehow, manage to come up with great-looking shots, unlike my amateur attempts.

What happens to these photos? For my part, most of them go up on Facebook and might be shown to family and friends. They get pored over and commented on (sometimes), and then after a week or two, that’s it. I might come back to my own photos to have a look, and perhaps in a few decades I’ll have an interesting record of my early adulthood, but I’m not really using my photos. Which is to say, if somebody else could use them, I wouldn’t mind.

That’s pretty handy, because there are others who can use my photos (not all of them, maybe, but some of them). I’ve recently found photofoundation, which is an image library that uses donated photographs from volunteers. This is useful for two reasons. Firstly, it means that member charities can use photos as they wish, which is no small thing when organisations are expected to update their media so regularly to show their activity. They might have some photos, but if they need stock photos for a blog or an advertising campaign, for example, then they have to fork out for the rights to pretty standard images. But if I’ve donated a photo of a turtle that I saw on holiday, and they need a photo of a turtle for their Save the Turtles update bulletin, then – well! – they can just use my photo.

However, it’s not only charities who can use these images. As you can imagine, with thousands of people donating snaps, it’s as good an image library as any. That means that if you or a company you work for or with needs images, you can use photofoundation as well. You have to pay, as with other image libraries, but then proceeds raised are donated to the member charities. That means that if you’re deciding where to source a picture of a flower or a funfair, you might as well head to photofoundation and make your money go further.

The member charities currently supported by photofoundation are:

RICC (Research into Childhood Cancer)
Beatbullying
Groundwork
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
Samaritans
CoppaFeel!
YouthNet

It’s also great that photofoundation has a clear set of guiding principles, which basically state that it is important that the images donated are only used with the full understanding, participation and permission of the subjects (or their guardians), and with respect for the dignity of anyone concerned. Also, you have to be a registered user to donate images of people in the first place.

I’ve registered and have started to donate photos. It costs me nothing, and it’s actually nice to feel that photos that are happy memories for me could have a life beyond my Facebook timeline. Why not see what you can donate?

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