This post would attempt to give a glimpse into the Wikimedia meetup that took place on 9th January 2011.
Hmmm….. Shaniwar Wada is about a km. from my place . As the wiki article says it’s a fort. Reached there at 9 a.m. , strolled around a bit and found Anand Patankar and Ashok Bagade who had turned up for the meet. Both are happy camera-trigger people. While they had an inkling of the meetup they had no idea as to what is the Wikimedia commons. Started explaining them and was soon joined by Ashwin and Sudhanwa. As it was a Sunday morning (weekly holiday for lot of people) wanted to give some more people time and went to have a ‘chai’. Chatted a bit and came near the front gate ‘Dilli Darwaza’ of Shaniwar Wada. Slowly the rest of the group i.e. Prasad Vaidya, Chandan Sharma and Prasad Rasal showed up.
Ashwin and Sudhanwa then shared the idea and the agenda for the day. They covered the following points :-
a. The need of free resources
b. The need of having the commons.
c. What is Wikimedia commons
d. How does it help the various projects and sub-projects by being a central repository
e. Also how having images in the repository triggers/motivates some people to write articles.
f. Why the need to do this today – the 10th Anniversary of Wikipedia
g. An invite for the 15th event.
Hearing and understanding the background and the objectives, most of the people warmed up to the subject.
Before I go further :-
Standard Disclaimer :- I am no photographer. In fact I didn’t bring a camera that day. Even if I had, it would have been just clicking and forgetting. No idea about aperture and wide-angle shots and stuff like that.
The digital cameras of today are in themselves a computer and in some sense they are more complex as its more dynamic in nature.
Anyways, while Sudhanwa had a prior commitment, Prasad Rasal had to go somewhere for some work. That left the 6 of us with me being the baby in the group. We slowly entered the gates and started taking pictures at around 11:15ish.
Slowly the group loosened up with me, Chandan Sharma and Prasad Vaidya in one group and Ashwin, Ashok Bagade and Anand Patankar in the other group for the picture-taking activity.
Within our group, while Chandan was photographing mostly the architecture of the place, some of the gardens , Prasad was a man with a mission. He was photographing whatever he could lay hand on, from birds to pretty women to westerners to couples whoever or whatever took his fancy weren’t left. He was the dynamo of the group.
During the course of the activity we came across a deep well, probably a place where either the queens or the concubines used to take the bath. The whole picture-taking activity within the Shaniwar Wada lasted around an hour.
There were quite few interesting discussions/threads which kept the group alive during the whole event .
a. How to protect your images/IP :- This has become an issue as there have been quite a few high-decibel plagiarism happening in the last few years and most of the time the judiciary has been at best ineffectual in understanding it. I don’t want to re-hearse all of that as I had already blogged quite a bit about it way earlier. Please read the Advocate Pavan’s Duggal’s views on the same and the general scenario as well.
b.The ASI and tripod :- The Archaeological Survey of India seems to have banned the use of tripod in many a historical site. It seems that few years ago when there was no need for permissions some of the photographers had put the tripods in such a way they disturbed the hisotric landmarks and henceforth they don’t like it. Now lot of these areas don’t have good lights and having a tripod (for shaky hands) and a flash are needed.
c. The overprotectiveness/zealousness of the Indian State :- Whether its bridges, Railways what have you, the Indian State doesn’t want to be photographed.
d. Should one give money to people when taking photographs or not.
e. Should you post-process your photographs or not after taking them? If post-processing (known as touching up/photo manipulation/Photoshopping etc) then how much?
– There have been lots of debates both in the national as well as international media about photo manipulation so less said the better.
One of the more interesting conversations which happened though was about Shaniwar Wada and its history. If you look at the Wikipedia article it isn’t really backed by any hard data i.e. no reference.
There was some loose talk of going to the nearby Museums and unlocking the references and history which would be there. As of now the whole article on Wikipedia is simply a big hearsay. Most of the history told there is common knowledge but from what I gather that isn’t good enough.
As we had decided earlier, after an hour or so scrounging around for some good pictures, we went to Kasba Ganpati . Unfortunately it was too late in the day and cameras are not allowed inside the premises. Hence we took some shots of the gates before the entrance of the temple with the different motifs and all.
Anyways, after Kasba Ganpati was finished which took around half an hour, had tea and snacks (which were sponsored by Wikimedia Foundation as part of the Wikipedia 10th Anniversary Celebrations)
There was a vote of thanks by Ashwin and with the hope that similar meetups happen in the near future. After exchanging e-mails of each other the meetup was promptly bought to a close . At the end everybody felt they had done something productive and were also happy with the new friends they had made.
Note: Will put up the photographs tomorrow morning and update the post.