The University of Texas at Austin's Insect Image Lab will create thousands of beautiful, unique, and informative visual works for release into the public domain. Under the mentorship of Dr. Alex Wild, professional photographer and UT's curator of entomology, a team of students will learn the art and artistry of digital microphotography while capturing images of Texas's smallest wildlife. The resulting image collection will be open for anyone to use, free of the constraints of traditional copyright.
A Public Resource
Where can you use Insects Unlocked's images? Anywhere you'd like! Web pages, magazine covers, books, billboards, blogs, t-shirts, scientific papers, apps, social media, coffee mug designs, classroom presentations, Wikipedia, and more. Ours are public works and can be used for anything, including commercialization, without the need for advance permission or even credit.
Donations to Insects Unlocked support several undergraduate students as they learn the University of Texas imaging system and receive training in scientific imaging, entomology, and outreach. Donations will also improve our processing computers, add cameras and lighting rigs for field use, and offset the costs of web hosting. Our team will start in the summer of 2015, using the 2015-16 academic cycle as a pilot while we evaluate the feasability of a long term publicly-funded program.
The amount and type of images we produce is proportional to the level of support we receive. Our image lab is located inside the UT insect collection, and we begin with high-magnification captures of curated material, as well as live field photography at the adjoining Brackenridge Field Laboratory. Should we exceed our funding goal, the Insects Unlocked team may be able to mount expeditions to diverse parts of Texas to photograph and video more live insect behavior in the field.
With your help, we can create a valuable public resource. Thanks for your support!
Follow the project on Twitter at @InsectsUnlocked, and view our images on Flickr. The technical aspects of our imaging system are described in Scientific American.