Google announced recently that they are making photos from Life Magazine (and actually Time-Life) available to the public. You can search the archive itself or you can go to the Google Image search page and add “source:life” to your search string. There usually lots of hits and each has excellent meta-data on who took the picture and when.
Although I am excited to see what photos from historic events will be available, I think I am more excited at the possibilities of being able to find legal images of celebrities, and maybe classic covers like the 1970s Time cover of the actresses from Charlie’s Angels (it’s there under “charlie’s angels source:life”. As odd as it sounds there are several course projects in which celebrity photos is a plus.
There was one multimedia quiz from African American history that we never released in the MTO archives because we could not efficiently clear celebrity images (e.g. James Brown, Tracy Chapman). Now, we could get many more legal images quickly. In addition, many foreign language classes use celebrity photos as a talking point (American and non-American).
There are other photos in the archive including the explosion of the Hindeberg, the taking of Iwo Jima (including the flag image), the various Olympics and many cultural touchstones from the 20th century.
All in all, it’s a great complement to the news photo archives available from the University Libraries.