I found a way to "force" images shwoing up in regular searches, even in country-specific Google versions like google.de or google.fr If you add the word "picture" to your query, it brings up images for many searches.
No image in SERPS: [google.fr...]
Image in SERPS: [google.fr...]
No image in SERPS: [google.de...]
Image in SERPS: [google.de...]
It does NOT seem to work with translated queries. So niether of the examples below produces an image:
No image: [google.de...]
Also no image: [google.de...]
Nothing here as well: [google.de...]
The images displayed are very sparsely selected, with no apparant method behind it. So I get no images for Paris, London or even New York, but I get results for Jupiter, Moon or Venus (look at the third one for the last query :-) ). I get images for da Vinci or Rubens, but not for van Gogh. I get images for Rod Stewart, but nor for Britney Spears (well, no harm in that). I get images for Robert de Niro, but not for Will Smith. I get pictures for John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, but not for George Bush or Tony Blair. Silvio Berlusconi and Gerhard Schröder are better off - and for Berlusconi you can even omit the first name. Arkansas shows nothing, Texas does, as well as California. Schwarzenegger gives results too, but not the one you'd expect. Or maybe the ones you DO expect :-)
No images for Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Diana Spencer or Camilla Parker Bowles. But at least I get pictures for Queen Elizabeth - though not the ones you'd expect. Nothing for Windsor Castle, but images of the Tower of London, as well as the Sears Tower and the Empire State Building (note the second picture). They show images for 9/11, but neither for Osama bin Laden nor for Saddam Hussein. I get images for Jesus, but neither for Buddha, Mohammed and not even for Ghandi. Oprah Winfrey can be found with the query "picture oprah" alone - something Jay Leno can only dream of since he needs his full name to be pictured among the SERPS. The Holy Grail can be easily found, as well as the Paradise which obviously is in the Carribbean. No image for the Vatican, but at least St. Peter's Basilica is present.
OK, need to get some serious work done :-)