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Picture File Collection

Fine Arts

Trying to visualize a certain place, time, situation, style, or object? Maybe you’re looking for images of a certain kind of animal; are looking for packaging concepts; or want to see how fresh produce was advertised in the 1980’s. Then again, maybe you are not sure what you are searching for at all. -- Let the picture files be a source of inspiration!

Rijard Bergeron Collage

Rijard Bergeron, a Pratt MFA Creative Writing Student, discovered the picture files are a great resource collage materials. He scanned images from many of the file folders creating works like the one you see below:

Collage created by Rijard Bergeron, a Pratt MFA Creative Writing Student.
Images used are from the following Picture File folders:

- advertising: household items 
- advertising: alcoholic beverages and tobacco 
- advertising: general 
- people: faces
- people: hands 
- food: breakfast
- interiors: 19th century
- interiors: 1900 - 1970


Fashion Picture Files

Picture file collections are a great resource for fashion & costume designers, especially when there is a need to look into past eras of clothing and fashion. Pratt Libraries' Fashion Picture File Collection, organized separately from the main Picture File Collection, contains thousands of fashion images, organized alphabetically by fashion designer.

Picture File

The main Picture File Collection contains an expansive collection of costume picture files organized by Era (17th - 20th Century, 20th Century is organized by decade); by topic/type (ex: bathing suits, bridal, academic); and culture (Egyptian, Dutch, Tibet… etc). Also of interest may be the expansive collection of files in the People, Travel, Accessories, Footwear, Industry, Textiles, & Uniforms sections.

Creative Writing and Critical Thinking

Whether it's a creative writing or critical thinking assignment, the picture file collection can provide you with insight and inspiration for your projects.

The picture file collection covers a broad range of topics, which makes the collection an ideal tool to help writers visualize whatever it is they may be looking to describe in their text. To name just a few, here are some topic areas that may be of particular interests to writers:

People (with over 60 sub-sections)
Landscapes (with 20 sub-sections)
Costumes (with nearly 100 sub-sections)
Industry (with over 20 sub-sections)
Travel (with well over 60 sub-sections)

 Browse the Picture File Index  to see what categories may be of interest to you. 


Pictures in W.G. Sebald's Novels


The picture above is from W.G. Sebald's Novel: Austerlitz. Throughout the book, Sebald utilizes evocative pictures that enhance the descriptive imagery of his text. 2 copies of Austerlitz are available in Pratt Instutute Brooklyn Library's Fiction Secion Call Number: SEBALD c.2.

Other Image Resources

Looking for more physical image resources? The Pratt Libraries have a fantastic collection of visual dictionaries and pictorial encyclopedias available in the stacks. There are also a number of digital image resources available. Visit Digital Image Resources at the Pratt Institute Libraries for a more indepth look. 

Image Books

Browsing The Stacks

Under Call Number 391 in the Pratt Institute Brooklyn Library stacks can be found hundreds of books associated with fashion, clothing and customs including illustrated books such as: What People Wore When: a complete illustrated history of costume from ancient times to the nineteenth century for every level of society

Under Call Number 746.92: Clothing in the context of Fashion Design can be found under this specific call number.

Fashion Periodicals: The Brooklyn Campus Pratt Library collect an assortment fashion magazine and periodical publications. Typically the current year’s volumes are kept in the Current Periodicals room, while all previous publication years are stored in the Lower Level Periodicals Stacks.