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IDS 101: American Medicine, Competence, Conceit, and Culture: Finding Images

Why Legal is Important

Not everyone has the time, resources, or talent to make their own graphics.  So for those of us who fall into this group, below is a list of some incredible tools that will help you locate millions of free images that can be used legally.  You may not know that an artist who takes a photo or creates a graphic has the legal right to share or distribute copies of their work.  This legal right is known as copyright, and permission must be granted by the artist to legally use the image.

It is important to note that there are some limits to copyright, such as the Fair Use guidelines (details at  Nonprofit educational purpose is probably the most common copyright exception.  For example, students may use images for a class paper and instructors are in most cases allowed to use images for class instruction since it is for educational purposes.  Just make sure to cite where you found it so you don’t plagiarize!

Related AIDS Images

"AIDS Poster Boy, Bobbi Campbell." AIDS, New York and the 1980s.  Source:

"Famous Last Words." Source:

Historically Underrepresented Populations

Openly licensed photo collections specializing in historically underrepresented populations:

Suggested Image Sites

Other Image Sites

Note: Always check the license for each image to find out if the work can be freely used and whether you need to attribute the creator.

HeLa Cells

HeLa Cells Cultured Electron.  Source:


Cell Cuture (HeLa cells) (26117) -- Anaphase, Metaphase.  Source:


Photomicrograph depicts HeLa Cells infected with Type-A Chlamydia trachomati.  Source: Public


HeLa Cells infected with Bacteria Germ V. Source:


HeLa Cells used as a control for certain experiments.  In this fluorescent image, blue indicates the DNA inside the cell nucleas, and the red staining is cellular actin cytoskeleton.  Image source: