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The Free Images I Use in My Hubs

Updated on September 29, 2010

It's usually a good idea to use pictures in a hub, more than one if the length of the hub warrants it. Images can definitely help illustrate or solidify a point.

However, unless you took the pictures yourself (or like to draw stick figures in M.S. Paint), there's always the problem of copyright violation, since usually someone owns the image somehow, especially if it's any good. (And even if you don't get caught violating copyright, I know the guilt gets to you.)

Originally, I just scrounged around for the bit of low-quality photography that was in the public domain, but then I found something of a solution to this problem, and it was actually born out of something of a preference for me.

Let's take a look:

Pretty, free, and representational. :-)
Pretty, free, and representational. :-)
Free...but not representational. :-(
Free...but not representational. :-(

The Imagery in My Hubs

You may have noticed that I tend to use a lot of old-school fine art in my hubs, particularly and especially images that concern themselves with Greek, Roman, Norse or other Pagan mythologies. Heck, my profile picture is a painting of Thor getting ready to hammer a serpent in the face.

Why do I use such imagery so consistently?

There are mainly two reasons: One is aesthetic and the other is practical.

Many of the images you see on my hubs reflect some Pagan myth or other that holds hidden meaning in relation to what I am saying. Usually the meaning is universal in that, if you recognize the myth or character, you'd see how it relates to the hub's content. (For a simple example, I included an image of Artemis in my hub about the appeal of strong women. There's way more than that, but you get the picture. Look around for them. Many of my hubs about romantic relationships have them.)

Sometimes, though, a picture just looks good and fits the content superficially, but has a hidden personal meaning to myself that isn't easily noticeable by others, like my slight obsession with imagery of Hermaphroditus. (See if you can find those. Some of them are not very obvious, and you wouldn't realize what you're looking at unless you looked up the myth. [Since, because it's already well-known that you can't say "sex" on the Internet, I'm probably not about to post up a really obvious image of Hermaphroditus full-frontal nude. (Or at least not in a hub that I want to make anything from.) (Yes, I am nesting way too many parentheses.)])

The practical side of it, though, is that of course most of these images are from very old pieces, usually at least one or two hundred years old, meaning their copyright has long expired and they have entered the public domain. Thus, the images are royalty-free and I don't have to deal with things like attribution or paying for using them.

This is a win-win situation, since a lot of the older fine art is beautiful and, more importantly, actually representational, so it can be used for illustrative purposes, in addition to being free to use.

A Note on Showing Someone's No-no Bits in a Painting or Fresco

It's my understanding that Hubpages doesn't normally allow nudity, but they do make an exception for "fine art nudity," which is reasonable. However, it can still result in your ads getting pulled, so I just play it safe and don't have any real nudity in any of my images, which isn't hard to achieve because some of the paintings were produced during even more puritanical times than ours. So rest assured when you read my hubs that everyone's bits are always obscured.

Where to find free images

There's plenty of places, even if you're not specifically looking for fine art. Probably the most efficient place to look is Wikimedia Commons, a pretty big collection of all sorts of free-to-use images, though a good amount of them have some sort of Creative Commons license that requires attribution, and are not simply public domain. Either way, though, it's a good resource and I use it all the time.

So go illustrate those hubs; we humans are visual creatures.

(By the way, this is my 50th hub. Just thought I'd mention that.)


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    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Good info with a nice clear message about image usage in hubs.


    • profile image

      hubpageswriter 7 years ago

      Great hub here! I'm starting to read your hubs and they are well interesting. Way to go.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Thank you for the helpful tips on free images and the thinking behind how you choose your art. I appreciate the suggestions and resource recomendation for free images. Peace :)

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

      Congrats on #50, quite a milestone for anyone!

      Sometimes I come to your hubs and just browse your images. Free or otherwise, I find a serenity in some and excitement in others, but always well worth the trip. Thank you for a fine explaination on Creative Commons license, a good lesson for all.


    • rgarnett profile image

      Rachael Fields 7 years ago from KC, MO

      I do love the art you use on your hubs. I appreciate you giving us some options for free pictures. I will definitely use it. I have been finding it easier to take my own pictures and videos from my camera, but in the beginning, it would have been nice to get some free stuff! Thanks!

    • xixi12 profile image

      xixi12 7 years ago from Everywhere but here. In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. You can never be truly free till you have the discipline to manage it.

      Thanks for the hub. Nice to know and congrats on your 50hubs, that is a lot of hardwork and time invested

    • susanmarion profile image

      susanmarion 7 years ago from Bunnell

      congrats on the 50 milestone. I reached 51 in February, but it was years, not hubs. Anyway... Thank you for the ideas. I enjoy your hubs.

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 7 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      I like the art you use, and appreciate the heads up about where to find it. It is beautiful and meaningful. I had never thought of fine art before you. Thanks.