This is the first brief article in the ‘pint-size’ post series, where I’ll be trying to keep it snappy.

Have you heard of the term ‘morgue file’ before?  If you have you’ve probably worked at a newspaper or in an archives department.  Or possibly even a morgue.  Don’t laugh. I’ve done that, so who is to say that you haven’t?

Cut to the chase:
an image resource, free for use in creative projects.

Originally, a morgue file meant a folder that held all the old notes, articles and other paraphernalia that criminal investigators and reporters kept.

In this case, however, I’m talking about all the source files of a creative project, digital or otherwise.  Let me introduce:

The morguefile contains photographs freely contributed by many artists to be used in creative projects …

What a wonderful notion – and resource.  And a quite different idea to the creative commons images available on Flickr.  Not heard of that?  Ah, well that’s one for the ideas box and a story for another day.  As is the reason I find so very, very useful.

The point is that if you are not wanting to maintain the original image, but radically – or slightly – alter it for your own design or educational needs, then this is the place for you.  On all of the images I’ve made use of so far, the license has been:

You are allowed to copy, distribute, transmit the work and to adapt the work. Attribution is not required. You are prohibited from using this work in a stand alone manner.

screenshot of the morgue file website
Morguefile: where photo reference lives, original by Alivmann

How can you not love that?  Not only are you encouraged to modify the image, but you are prohibited from using it stand alone.  Attribution is a nicety – and one I have done in this article, as I have only slightly modified the original.  When I’ve used an image and hugely distorted it from the original, I’ve left it unattributed. I’m sure the original author is grateful to me for that.

Go on.  What are you waiting for?  Open up the morgue file and get a little creative.