On April 14, 2007, I contributed my first article, one of 130 since then, to Wikipedia. It was on Ed van der Elsken, one of my favourite photographers.
A bio on Van der Elsken had existed since 2002 on the Dutch language site, but I was surprised to find there was no article on him in the Encyclopaedia in English, so felt I had to do something about it.
A daunting experience at first, editing in Wikipedia is something best first attempted by doing some small edits on existing articles; something as simple as correcting spelling or grammar to start to see how it all works. That was something I started doing in 2006, making 10,000 edits since then, many of them being major additions to a page. Then you can move on to your area of interest and expertise and thus make significant contributions to world knowledge, since Wikipedia is the place we all go first when we want to know something.
By way of a personal celebration of this work—and it does involve a considerable research effort—I include links below to articles I’ve created so far; first, so that I can look back on an achievement, and secondly, because if you read On This Date In Photography, the links in the list below might lead you somewhere that interests you.
Much of my motivation has been to discover more about The Family of Man (1955), an exhibition and publication that had huge influence on me as a photographer and researcher, and which holds the record for the biggest audience for a photography show, estimated at 9 million and rising, and for the longest-running, because it is on permanent show in Luxembourg. So for that reason, I had a mission, now completed as far as I am able, to add articles on, or missing information on, any of the 273 photographers whom Edward Steichen selected for that groundbreaking show. I am curious to understand the life work of those contributors and how being in The Family of Man contributed to their careers, and to comprehend the post-war society in which I grew up and why there has been such a shift away from the humanist perspective that the show represented, back toward the anti-human right-wing world-view that is beginning to dominate today. I firmly believe its photographic archive can provide insights into those puzzles.
The writing of an entry for Wikipedia is quite different from that which I do here; everything must be referenced and you know it will be checked and revised by other editors, perhaps ultimately to the point that little you have written remains; it’s an evolutionary process in which the fittest words and facts survive.
Here, I can write what I like, how I like, and I rarely bother with formal referencing, employing links instead, since I write for those with interests in common with mine.
So here’s the list; may one of these links spark your curiosity!
Alan McLeod McCulloch
Alice Marian Ellen Bale
Art Monthly Australasia
Australian National Travel Association
Bradley Smith (photographer)
Daniel J. Ransohoff
Ed van der Elsken
George W. G. Allen
Grace M. Mayer
Karl W. Gullers
Laurence Le Guay
Le Groupe des XV
Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack
Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors”
Midtown Y Photography Gallery
Museum of Modern Art Australia (MOMAA)
Musya S. Sheeler
Nick De Morgoli
Peter Bray Gallery
Peter Werner Häberlin
The Camera (American magazine)
The Camera (Irish magazine)
The Photogram (magazine)
The Photographers’ Gallery and Workshop
The Sydney Camera Circle
Three Lions Inc.
Walter B. Lane