It is with a great pleasure that we inform you that today – exactly at midnight local time – Israel has become the 34th country to join in Wiki Loves Monuments 2012!
Just a couple of days before the start of the competition, the Israeli Wiki Loves Monuments team has visited the Israel Photographers’ Conference held in Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, promoting the iniatitive to professional photographers and photography enthusiasts. Below, please find a short summary of the visit to the conference kindly provided to us by a member of the group:
On Wednesday, September 12, 2012, the Israel Photographers’ Conference was held in Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena, organized by the Galitz School of Photography, one of the partners of the Wiki Loves Monuments competition in Israel. The conference was attended by about 3,500 people, and speakers included big-name photographers such as Spencer Tunick and others.
Wikimedia Israel had a stall in this conference, where we explained the competition to interested attendees. While the stall was not located in the central part of the venue, many people passed it by and as soon as they realized that we were not selling anything, almost everyone took some interest in the project and took our brochure.
Yael, Lily, Deror and I—volunteers from Wikimedia Israel—spoke to several hundred people about the competition and explained how it worked, often also covering topics like Wikimedia Commons and free licenses in general. Some of the attendees took great interest in our project and visited the website on their mobile phones, while others said they would contribute or think about contributing. It should be worth noting that a significant proportion of the attendees were professional photographers, while most others were enthusiasts.
As expected, the biggest hurdle was that many professionals feel very uncomfortable about releasing their images under a free license. We tried to allay their fears and play up the advantages of this act, but personally I feel that there would need to be a significant shift of paradigm for many of these pros to make massive contributions. Another problem raised by some who talked to us was the conflict between artistic and encyclopedic values of photographs.
Overall I feel that despite the problems described above, we came to just the right place for promoting a competition such as ours. There is probably no place and time in Israel where we could have secured access to such a relevant target audience, and I have great hopes that this will pay off in the near future as we see their contributions in the competition.
—Yan Nasonov (User:Ynhockey)
Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 in Israel will take place from today, September 14, until midnight local time on October 15, to coincide with the holidays of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and Tabernacles (Sukkot). Good luck to all participants!