Good to know. I've been finding it very hard to find good photos. I guess I'll stick to stock on DA.
Most "big time" photographers will appreciate the ask. I had one photographer give me specific written instructions because I was the only artist who asked to use his work in a "sincere" manor (I told him who I was, what I did, & what I wanted to do with the pictures)... He usually told artists "no" but since I wasn't going to be selling the work, allowed me access to use his photographs... Free of being sued for copyright infringement!
Sometimes taking a couple minutes out to e-mail the photographer is worth saving the ache and hassle of having a website remove your work because it got reported as theft, and will definitely keep you safe from being "served." (They're more likely to go after you legally if you're selling a recreation.)