We believe there's a need for a new and collaborative space in which to share high quality images about social and environmental justice issues, with a view to illustrating these issues more effectively and meaningfully in campaign materials and the media.
We aim to build a community of committed activist photographers, both amateur and professional, who want to share their images with others in civil society and/or sell them to media and other outlets.
Civil society organisations, community groups, and students
Under-resourced civil society organisations, community groups, and students (‘civil society members’ or CSMs) who are registered on this site have 'enhanced access' meaning they can access the majority of our images for free.
There are three types of licence - Creative Commons, Royalty Free and Rights Managed (you can find more information about them on our 'Choosing Licences and Releases' page).
Creative Commons licences and images in the public domain are free for anyone to use - that is the purpose of that kind of licence. Our photographers have also agreed to provide their Royalty Free images to under-resourced users at no cost as well. The only exception are images that have Rights Managed licences - these are images generally uploaded by professional photographers, and each use requires a license and a fee to be paid. We also want to support professional activist photographers, so this is the only type of image that is not offered for free.
Please note that unless an image has been put in the public domain (ie it does not have a license) the copyright for these images still rests with the photographer. As a result this can mean you are not permitted to use the image for commercial purposes or that you cannot manipulate it. You need to check the terms of the licence very carefully, for each image that you download, and you are responsible for its proper use. If you infringe the terms of the licence you are legally liable, just as if you had paid for it.
Other image buyers
We ask better-resourced civil society organisations that can afford to pay for the image licences to consider themselves as 'Other Image Buyers', along with media outlets, academia, publishing houses and others. The commission we take on these fees helps us to maintain the site and provide free resources to those who need them.
Other Image Buyers can also register with us, and purchase credits to use when paying for images. You will find an expanding collection of high quality images, many of which cannot be sourced elsewhere, at reasonable prices. This site includes both Rights Managed and Royalty Free images, depending on the wishes of the uploading photographers. It also hosts free images under Creative Commons licences, although you will need to check the licence attached to each image to see if commerical use is permitted.
We want to encourage activist photographers, both amateur and professional, to share or sell good quality campaign-related images with other people around the world, including geo-tagged images of specific campaigns and projects. Detailed instructions about how to register with us and use this site can be accessed via the ‘photographer log-in’ button. You are also asked to abide by our ethical guidelines.
Registering photographers need to be approved, because we need to ensure the quality of the site and be confident that photographers will abide by the site's terms and conditions.
You are free to choose how you want to license your images, but we strongly advise you to choose one of the licences rather than putting your image in the public domain, even if you want to share your images for free. Using a Creative Commons licence, for example, gives you a way of controlling the use of your image, especially if you want to stop it being used for commercial purposes. However, if you want your images to be in the public domain, with no restrictions on usage, you should choose the Creative Commons No Licence option.
If you decide you would like to try and generate some income from your images, that’s also fine – you can opt for a Royalty Free licence or a Rights Managed licence (for more details see our 'Choosing licences and releases' page). We do, however, ask that photographers allow our registered CSMs to access their Royalty Free images for free; other buyers will still pay for them.
We generally take a 50% commission on any images that are sold. This helps us to maintain the site and provide free resources and campaign communications support to those that cannot afford to pay. If you wish to donate the remaining income to CIC that's also very welcome! (Please note that Critical Information Collective is an asset-locked Community Interest Company under UK law. As such we cannot generate profits, all income is reinvested directly.) To donate any income please contact us on info@criticalcollective, and we will amend your registration information.
Unfortunately, the law means we also have to talk tax. If you are planning to generate income, please check our ‘Payments and donations’ page.
Initially, we are asking photographers to limit uploads to five images per week. This is to encourage people to send us their best images rather than all their images. We have to review each image and approve it manually, and we have limited resources to do this. As we expand we can build a team of reviewers that will help to speed the process up. We appreciate your help with this.
Please make sure you keep proper copies of all your images too. We’re sorry, but we can’t be responsible for them. Please make sure you also read and review our full 'Terms and Conditions' page before using this website. Thanks!