Call it the brand that will never die.
More than seven decades after Life first appeared as a magazine devoted to photojournalism, the venerable brand is to be resurrected as a Web site early next year.
Announced Tuesday, the site will let visitors search and browse through some 10 million professional images from Life’s archives, the bulk never before seen by the public, plus thousands of photos of current events that will be added each day. Visitors will be able to view the photos, share them or print them out for noncommercial use — all for free.
Life.com will also sell framed photos and personalized coffee table books that customers can compile and order online, though the bulk of its revenue is expected to come from ads.
“We’re creating a site that is a destination to look at great photography,” said Andy Blau, chief executive of the new venture. “All the image-sharing that exists today is generally user-uploaded amateur photography. It doesn’t necessarily capture the world’s most important events.”
Visitors will have access to Life’s outtakes — for instance, about 300 that photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt took of Marilyn Monroe beyond the half-dozen or so that got published, Blau said.
They will also see photos taken for assignments that never got published; Blau said he recently found 36 photos of a friend’s father, taken for a canceled story revisiting soldiers wounded during World War II.
“Those are the kinds of examples we hear about all the time,” Blau said. “So many people’s lives have been touched by Life magazine over the years.”
The Life name first appeared on a humor magazine in the late 19th century. Henry Luce bought the rights to it and started a photojournalism weekly under that banner in 1936. After growing to iconic status and then fading, the weekly ceased publication in 1972. It was resurrected as a monthly in 1978 and ended again in 2000. From 2004 to 2007, Life appeared as a weekly newspaper supplement. Numerous “Life” books and special issues have appeared over the decades.
The new site will be the first extensive use of the brand online, Blau said.
Life owner Time Inc., a unit of Time Warner Inc., is forming Life.com as a joint venture with Getty Images, which is providing the search technology and some 5 million archival images — and adding about 3,000 images each day of current events.
Life.com gives Getty, a leading seller of stock photography to businesses, a foray into the consumer market.