There’s a really sad story I’m forced to tell today. It’s the story of Evan Amos, one of the highest–quality photographers of video games, food, and other such articles, working today.
You see, Evan is a remarkable photographer. Not because of the dogged amount of stuff he’s documented, or because of his incredibly curated Wikipedia page, but because of how it’s documented. Every single image is, in practical terms, impersonal. He makes no claim to any personality whatsoever in his images beyond documenting them in the best light possible. The photographer, like a janitor, is totally invisible in the work they do — and in many respects, it’s the failure to notice any flaws that makes his work what it is.
Anybody who fiddles with camera knows that it is incredibly difficult to take great pictures. Reality isn’t prepared for the demands of art, you see. Anybody with a basic knowledge in composition can take adequate photographs; those with more in–depth knowledge can create good ones. But it takes a special type of obsession to learn what makes an excellent photograph, and even more to produce them.
Wikimedia Commons is a wasteland of amateur photos flanked by some incredibly high–quality ones. The bad ones suffer from basic mistakes. The resolution is too low, it’s blurry, the colours are awful, and the perspective is strange. The decent ones still suffer from subjective, artistic flaws, such as uninspiring composition and a lack of direction from the photographer as to how you’re supposed to feel. Evan solves this problem by having no emotion whatsoever.
There are many artists who are so cocksure that what they do are the dog’s bollocks that they fail to apply any self–reflection as to what they’re doing has an impact, ending up creating perfectly functional, though at the end of the day unremarkable, pieces of art that look very pretty yet entices no emotion whatsoever. Evan solves this problem by being a pragmatist and realising that getting people to feel things is more trouble than it’s worth.
Even the great work is often held under copyright slavery, work that will never be truly free until after a hundred years or more after the work is published, leaving pirates to wipe up their tears, put on their big boy pants, and throw two middle fingers up and say “fuck you” to artificial scarcity, plutocracy, the establishment, and anything else they can describe with sufficiently big words. At which point Evan coughs and points to the CC0 Public Domain Dedication he put on all of his work, making him a Friend of Freedom and won’t get lynched at the next Occupy Wall Street march.
He embodies the Unix philosophy perfectly of doing one thing and doing it extremely well; all his photographs are ripe to be ripped–off, and too often they are. When he sees the use of his work in national ad campaigns, he considers this to be “a raw deal”, as opposed to an opportunity to stuff a bunch of fliers in your briefcase and showing your employers all the times your work was used without permission. “These photos are so fresh, they had to steal them!” Though given how anybody is able to use his images, I’d much rather call it freedom.
Yes, it certainly is a shame that Evan is so unknown, a natural consequence of all the work he had done for this world, preserving history in all its crisp, clean glory, only to be picked up by an asshole like me and have his work mercilessly hacked away in a picture that I happen to be very proud of and yet cannot talk about because ain’t nobody got time for that.
…oh, what’s this? He has his own Wikipedia article? That’s not invisible at all — that’s the baseline standard for human notability! You don’t just make your own Wikipedia article, you have to wait until somebody makes it for you, and if somebody gives enough of a shit about you to make that a reality, then you’ve already won at life. You can die happy. You may not be famous, but so long as Wikipedia exists, you’ll be looked up by somebody once in a while.
I like the warning on the talk page, too. “The Wikipedia contributor Evan-Amos may be personally connected to the subject of the article Evan Amos.” No shit, eh? This only comes in second to Jimbo Wale’s page, where he declared a connection with the article. Hmm, I wonder how…
Date: 2017–03–19. Size: 1,864 bytes. Colours: 4.
Upscaled Dimensions: 801×726. Original Dimensions: 267×242.