Friday, March 5, 2010

Requesting Photos from the US Navy

My chapter about the dangers of Utah Beach will include a photo of the USS Charles Morgan. [See my post about the attack on the Morgan. Also see the account of Solomon Fein. He watched the Morgan sinking from a nearby ship.]

The US Naval Historical Foundation maintains an archive of ship photographs. The Morgan is not famous enough to appear in their online catalog, so I emailed them with a request. I sent an email to their "photos@" email address on September 30, 2009. That same day a representative notified me that he forwarded my request to the Naval History & Heritage Command’s Photographic Department. On October 5th their photo curator sent me a message to inform me they had three photos, and they were mailing me photocopies with an order form.

The envelope arrived a few days later. I then sat on the order for a while. On February 8, 2010 I finally got around to sending in a check to order an 8 x 10 in. glossy print. The printed photograph arrived this past Monday, March 1st. Now I can scan the photo and place it in my book layout. As a book designer I regularly work with a lot of stock photo websites. The Naval Historical Foundation doesn't compare to the speed and ease of those professional sites, but its process is better than other government institutions. I suspect that they do not handle the same volume of requests as do the Library of Congress or the National Archives. Far from an anonymous bureaucratic department, the Naval History people offer personal service.

The pricing is good too. Editorial photos from might run from $300 to $600 for reproduction on the front of a book. With the Naval Historical Foundation you're only paying for the prinitng, shipping and handling. There is no licensing fee. A 5 x 7 in black & white photo from the Navy costs $22. For $3 more you can get an 8 x 10 print (which is what I did).

1 comment:

  1. Those are very nice. I didn't know that kind of stuff was available.


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