Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have a photograph of my farm?
We have over 25 million photos from 41 states. If the property you are searching for was in rural America in the second half of the 20th Century, we probably have a photo of it.
If we do not have it now, we may soon, as we are always searching for smaller collections to add to our archive.
What does your collection include?
Vintage Aerial currently has over 25 million photos taken from 1963 to 2015 in 41 states. Each of our photographs is an authentic depiction of rural America, taken with a film camera by a person in a small plane.
Our photographs document rural homesteads, small towns, and community landmarks such as churches, schools, and shops. While we have few photos of individual homes in cities, please remember that many areas now surrounded by urban sprawl were sparsely populated rural areas just a few decades ago. Vintage Aerial captured many of those areas as they were before they were overtaken.
Why can’t I browse through your entire photo collection?
We are working to make our entire collection available online, but not every area within our coverage is immediately viewable.
We currently have an archive of over 25 million photographs. Digitizing, mapping, and indexing this collection is a monumental challenge. We insist on the utmost care at each stage of the process to insure that each irreplaceable photograph is captured and preserved as perfectly as possible. This process is a work in progress.
Despite this project being underway, we give you the ability to view images in areas where we still have work to complete. All we need is a current address, set of coordinates, or other geographic information, and we will search our database for nearby photos. Once we’ve uploaded them to our website, we simply email you a link to view the photos online, at your leisure. There’s no commitment or payment required, as this is a free service that takes only a few business days.
Why are you asking me to share my story with you?
By using the letters that we wrote to each other and the diaries we kept for ourselves, historians are able to construct a vivid picture of how people lived, worked, loved and lost in periods past. But beginning in the second half of the 20th century, we stopped writing things down.
Vintage Aerial wants to create an illustrated historical record of the rural America of the recent past, so those stories are preserved for future generations. The stories behind each photograph deepen its meaning, both for the individual whose stories they are, and for society at large.
Do I have to buy something or promise anything for Vintage Aerial to research a photograph for me?
We want to share our collection with as many people as we can. If there is an old family homestead or farm in your personal history, please let us help you find a picture of it. We invite you to view the photographs we find for you, free of charge.
If the photo stirs your memories – we are confident it will – we simply ask that you consider investing in a print or digital file from Vintage Aerial.
Regardless of your choice, when you look at a picture we’ve found for you, please consider sharing with us some of your memories or family stories relevant to the photo in the comments area beneath the photo. We will add your story to the historical record we are creating.
How are Vintage Aerial’s prints prepared?
Vintage Aerial offers one of the few things you can buy that is a family heirloom the day it arrives. In recognition of this, the print is permanently bonded onto an archival quality, ultra-flat, rigid board made of 100% natural wood fiber.
This state-of-the-art printing process insures that your photo will not fade or yellow with time. Nor will it degrade from exposure to light.
Because of the high durability of Vintage Aerial’s prints, glass is not required in the framing process, because it is unnecessary to protect the print. It is sturdy enough to hold and display outside of a frame without fear of damage.
For more information, see our Products page.
Is access to your collection available for scholarly research or the media?
We realize that our collection has possible uses as boundless as history itself. Researchers and members of the media should contact us to discuss accessing our collection.
Does Vintage Aerial license the collection for other uses?
Our main focus is providing an illustrated personal history for our customers and preserving their stories for future generations.
However, we realize our collection can be many things to many people. We want to make connections with organizations that see the additional value our collection provides.
If you represent a corporation, governmental entity, or a non-profit, or just have a great idea, and would like to contact Vintage Aerial about partnering with us or licensing our collection, please contact us.