Virtual Volunteering: Content Development regarding photographing scenes on-location


Resource Library has amassed considerable information covering many artists and topics. In late 2016 Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO), publisher of Resource Library, changed focus away from adding additional articles and essays. TFAO is instead concentrating on furthering breadth and depth of information from other sources to place in Topics in American Art. In early 2017 TFAO added hundreds of additional museums to it's list for ongoing study. Find the covered museums here: A-C D-G H-L M-Q R-S T-Z.

For the indefinite future TFAO plans for Resource Library to remain inactive while accumulating data for Topics in American Art.

Volunteer opportunity regarding photographing scenes on-location

Since 1997 images of thousands of paintings and sculptures have been published in Resource Library in connection with its articles. The images are of a myriad objects in nature including landscapes, marine scenes, architectural structures, and more.

Many people are fascinated with viewing the artistic interpretation of scenes through painting or sculpture in proximity to realistic photographs of the same scenes. These juxtapositions are educational for historic and other reasons, are enjoyable to see, and provide a window for further understanding the impression of nature created by the artist. Resource Library's readers may further appreciate this photography as artistic in its own right.

Volunteers are invited to survey the images of paintings and sculptures contained in Resource Library and choose related scenes for their photography. Physical access and availability of perspective are important factors and guide volunteers' choices of locations. Volunteers let TFAO know what scenes they wish to photograph in advance so that duplication of effort and possibility of misunderstandings are minimized.

TFAO recommends that photographers search the TFAO web site through Resource Library's home page to help find nearby scenes. A search can be made using keywords such as a state, city or location name. When the keywords "Yosemite Falls" were entered during a January, 2006 search, 35 pages were referenced containing four paintings. A search for "Niagara Falls" yielded 54 pages with one painting.

A helpful hint is to add the word "inches,"[1] "oil," or "watercolor" to location keywords. For a search of scenes in Gloucester to photograph, if the keywords "Gloucester" and "inches" are entered together, dozens of pages are displayed with paintings of Gloucester scenes. The same search substituting "watercolor" or "oil" also yields many pages showing paintings.

Following are examples of Resource Library articles and essays containing photographs by volunteers. Each of the photographs relates to a historic painting of the same scene, nearby scenery or relevant information. [2]


An additional opportunity: photos of art museum exteriors

TFAO welcomes volunteers to submit by email photos of exteriors of museums in instances where Resource Library either does not yet have a photo of a museum or is willing to post additional photos. Museums are listed at Sources of Articles and Essays Indexed by State within the United States.

Following are examples:


Protection against copyright infringement

As a deterrent to TFAO improperly posting an image from a volunteer who does not hold full copyright, we seek certainty that each photo submitted is the sole property of the volunteer and that TFAO will not be a party to a copyright infringement lawsuit. For instance, a volunteer who is a professional photographer may have a photo on file that he or she believes is solely owned. A past licensee of the photo may much later claim that rights were assigned years ago. If the photo appears on our website, we may may become charged in federal court for copyright infringement even though the lawsuit has no merit. To avoid this risk we seek proof that any photo submitted was made only for the benefit of TFAO's website and has had no prior use.

A volunteer may include a visual cue on the photo identifying it as being made for submission to TFAO. An example of a visual cue could be for the volunteer to include at the far right or left side of a photo a person facing the camera holding a piece of paper with "TFAO" written on it. The ID would be cropped out by TFAO before publication, the volunteer having given permission for the photo to be cropped as TFAO sees fit.


Forwarding photos with a transmittal email letter

Using the email address provided in volunteer's email submission, the volunteer sends an email letter containing (1) the exact language provided in the page's required transmittal letter with the blanks filled in, (2) a .jpg file of the volunteer's original photograph for publication consideration and (3) a property owner's permission email if the photo was taken on private property. Upon receipt of the materials, TFAO will review them and reply to the volunteer.

The submission letter grants to TFAO non-exclusive one-time permission to publish the selected image within the editor's notes following a previously published Resource Library article. Full ownership of the volunteer's work remains with the volunteer.



The volunteer photographer's name is credited with each photo published. TFAO will follow the photographer's name with a copyright notice supplied by the photographer. TFAO will also be pleased to provide the phone number, studio name and web address for a commercial photographer in the credit line for a photo.



TFAO requests that only .jpg images be sent, and only by email. Volunteers are asked to not send "zipped" or "stuffed" .jpg images and not send 35mm slides, 4x5 or 8x10 inch transparencies. TFAO prefers low resolution .jpg images at 72 dpi, a net range of 350-450 pixels wide for landscape orientation and a net range of 300-350 pixels wide for portrait orientation. The .jpg images should be RGB color.


About TFAO

Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) offers online the most thorough body of knowledge concerning American representational art through its publication Resource Library, plus projects, reports, studies and catalogues including:

For the past 19 years, all content has been presented to the public free of charge - and will continue on that basis permanently. TFAO is 100% non-commercial.



1. In Resource Library, the description of almost every artwork shown in its pages includes height and width measurements in inches. The word "inches" is therefore a strong sign that there is an image of an artwork on a particular page.

2. Following are examples provided by TFAO to a new volunteer photographer in Hawaii help get her started:

"Let's go through a search in the Google Search box and choose two page with images of paintings that could be scenes for you to use as guides for your own photos.
We are using the words "Hawaii" and "inches" for the keywords in the search. For this search in Resource Library we get 25 results. The result at the top of the first Google results page is for The Golden Age of Painting in Hawaii, 1880-1950. The URL for this page is
When we click through to the page we see four images of paintings, which are from left to right: D. Howard Hitchcock, Kealakekua Bay , 1897, oil on canvas, 17 x 26 inches, lent by Kealakekua Ranch Ltd.; D. Howard Hitchcock, Halemaumau , 1898, oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches, Private collection; Lloyd Sexton, White Camelias, 1947, oil on canvas, 15 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches, Private collection; Robert Lee Eskridge, Kauai Fisherman , c. 1930, oil on canvas, 40, x 33 inches, Lent by Mark and Carolyn Blackburn. When we click on the images we get enlargements of the thumbnails.
The first two are paintings of places, the third is a painting of flowers and the fourth is a painting of a man. We can eliminate the painting of the man as he is long gone. You could choose to photograph the general area of the first two paintings. You could also photograph white camelias. These photos would show how the scenes generally look in reality versus how the painter interpreted the scenes many years ago.
The next listed page from the Google search is Hawaiian Idyll: The Prints of John Kelly. The URL for this page is
When we click through to the page we see five images of paintings, The third and fifth are landscapes. The general places where these two paintings were created can be photographed."

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