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The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast

David Shankbone Grassroots, Photographer; most influential new media photojournalist in the world.

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Shankbone image from Hoody 
protest for Trayvon Martin

I discovered David Shankbone 's photography seeking occupy Wall Street images. I discovered David Shankbone as an extraordinary bottom up contributor to 5000 websites when I was looking for images for a Trayvon Martin story. 

I wonder if there is any other photographer in the world with images on 5000 websites. David got there by following a vision of creating a body of quality images offered free, based on creative commons usage terms. PBS has described him as "arguably the most influential new media photojournalist in the world. 

blurbs about David from his website:


Here are my very rough interview notes. 

David Shankbone

David's Bio, from his website:

Since 2006 I have worked on a public art project on Wikipedia, where my photographs illustrate over 5,000 articles in 200 languages: from Brooklyn to Betty White; transvestites to Taylor Swift; the hills of southern Lebanon to the President of Rwanda.

So many small publishers, artists, authors and educators can't afford the time or money to hunt down and negotiate with unknown people for affordable images.  I wanted to create an extensive body of high resolution stock photography licensed Creative Commons, which means anyone can use them in perpetuity for any legal purpose.

The New York TimesThe Economist,The New YorkerVanity Fair and numerous others have used the project's thousands of images.

On Wikinews, Wikipedia's sister journalism project, I interviewed around 40 artists and leaders.  The Columbia Journalism Review published a profile about it (subscription).

I've driven motorcycles across Cuba and Portugal, camped in the Amazon, skydived over Italy, lost myself in Morocco and found myself in the Negev.   I've moved 33 times among 3 countries (US, GB and ES), 6 states (NJ, GA, CO, TX, PA, NY) and 17 cities.  These are the good ole days. Happy endings don't bore me.

references to David Shankbone on opednews.com go back five years.

http://bit.ly/oendshankbone


Very, VERY rough interview notes

Started in 2006. Was fascinated after 

Reading Tragedy of the Commons, about how the public uses shared resources. 

Wanted to create a commons myself. I did think I could go out with a digital camera and just start photographing. 

Over time, I started with a very cheap point and shoot camera. I hadn't owned a camera. 

Over time I kept pushing myself to get more access. I wanted to get people. One of the hardest things to get for photography is photos of people-- economists, lawyers, university professors making a different. But I also wanted to get celebrities like Madonna, Maria Carey, Gore Vidal. 

I kept pushing myself to gain access. 

How does this work for you? How do you pay for this avocation?

I started with a point and shoot. 

Wikipedia, in 2006 had very few photos. 

I'd gone to law school. I had a legal career that paid me well enough"

I didn't look at it as a hobby that I could turn into a money maker. 

Once I started having access, I started getting invited to parties. It made my life more interesting. 

I manage a legal department. 

There's a general issue in our society which is becoming more acute-- entitlement and passiveness-- what can we get out of our society. The old JFK line, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. 

This huge body of work was for one particular reason. I wanted to do one particular useful thing that did have value. How can you improve your community and society in one particular way. 

How does this improve your community and society?

There really is a dearth of photography that is high resolution and quality and ".

The idea was to create a lot of different things that people want to write about, whether it's people playing chess"

It takes someone going out there and photographing that and putting it up as  high resolution photography. 

How do you know that there are thousands of articles out there using your work?

If you do a google image search for my name, you'd come up with at least a couple hundred thousand.. because all over the world. 

Creative commons rules that use of his photos are based on.

Creative commons 3.0 you can use it for any legal purpose, commercial or non-commercial, the only thing you have to do is give me credit. And the credit is only to see how it is being used by the public-- how it was used, how it was altered how it was photoshopped. 

Do you ever make any money from these?

No, but I have been hired to do work including for the creative commons.

Are there any particular photos that stand out as having made a difference.

What surprised me most was occupy wall street. I stumbled onto it when they had an organizational meeting. I have a history of covering protests here in NY. I just started going there day after day afar day-- how it was changing. 

It blew up. Nobody had photographs. Nobody had information about it. There was a scramble to get some work. That made a difference for people 

Now, the Trayvon Martin shooting-- when I photographed the rally here in NY and his parents. 

I have a huge amount of student loans. 

There are very few creative commons photos in Africa. I'd planned on doing three countries in three months, documenting as much as I could. I had a few people who said they'd sponsor. 

Have you ever gotten any grants to do this work?

That's what I was going. 

Photos on your wish list?

Barack Obama, people who shaped my childhood-- people like Oprah. it makes me feel like I have a piece of that and I can examine it. Gore Vidal was a huge person to photograph. Justin Bieber I'd like to photograph. People like that are fascinating. What I really like is photographing people and not knowing who they are then discovering they are famous. I did that with the Time 100. Like Suzanne Collins, of the Hunger Games. 

Where do you want this go from here?

I used to spend 40 hours a week doing it, in addition to my day job. it consumed me for a really long time. The experience was so great, like I was going to Michael Musto's party, photographing Joan Rivers. But lately I've been feeling I've been getting creatively more stale. 

There was such a challenge early on in the photography-- to learn the equipment, to get more and  more access. 

Are there

Wikipedia has two photographers

Glenn Francis Gage Skidmore

Glen specializes in celebrities in LA and Gage specializes in Politicians. He seems to specialize in Republican politicians. 

FLickr is a great place, better than wikimedia commons-- easier. 

Wikipedia-- the art work is all available for use. 

Wikimedia commons is the repository for all the multimedia for all the content in wikipedia around the world. That's why it's in all the languages. The link can be used without replicating the image. 

How to use wikimedia commons.

Use the search box-- they categorize the photographs. The search box defaults. 

There's a whoopie goldberg pages. 

If people don't put her pic on the page for her, the photos may. 

how to use google site:commons.wikimedia.org subject

is there a group of people who are organized who do this?

I always lobbied for press credentials for wikimedia. 

I did become a reporter for wikinews-- I did get a press card for that. But it was just something made by somebody at home. It wasn't something that I could go to the NYPD to get press access. 

Did you ever try that?

I thought about it. I actually joined the NY press club. But it was around that time that I started having to focus on my paying job. It didn't 

If money wasn't an issue, what would you be doing?

I'd probably be in Africa photographing-- It's one of the big black holes in the creative commons. 

Then, I would probably write a book?" a memoir, from my childhood, when I was teenage rRepublican from virginia, one of Newt Gingrich's youth coordinators. There was a sex scandal. 

What's your politics now? 

I'm pretty liberal but try not to let that affect my photography. I'm proud of my Sarah Palin" Glenn Beck. 

On occupy wall street, some conservative editors said I was only photographing the positive side. I was there 30-40 days and I would photograph everything I could. They'd ask "where are all the piles of trash. And I'd say look at the photos. They was never really a big pile of trash. 

How can flickr users also get their images on wikimedia commons. 

The upload form on wikimedia commons is step by step.

FLickr is always the best way. But you also get more exposure for your work if you upload to wikimedia commons and then put them on wikipedia. 

to add images to wikipedia you have to put them on wikimedia commons, then they go to wikipedia. 

Other sites to put images?

Photopedia gives a lot of creative commons pictures. 

shankbone.org

for the first time one of my photographs will be in a museum-- one of the protest photos against the Cordoba center-- the ground zero mosque.

The museum of the city of new  york. 

How many photos do you have on the web-- between flickr and wikimedia I have about 5000. 

I've uploaded about a tenth of what I've taken. 

Wikipedia doesn't like artistic shots, they try to be encyclopedic, so if you do broody shots..

Camera-- I'm using a Pentax KX. It's not an expensive camera. I'm just a consummate amateur. That was about a $1000 dollar camera. I'll show up at events with a camera that is clearly one that no professional uses" but I'm standing in the A- Pen, with the NY Daily news and Getty Guys. I just use your basic 300 lens-- I have two lenses. They're both the  kit lenses that are included with the camera. 


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Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of Storycon.org, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

Listen to over 200 of Rob's Podcast interviews here.

Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.


With his experience as architect and founder of a technorati top 100 blog, he is also a new media / social media consultant and trainer for corporations, non-profits, entrepreneurs and authors.

Rob is a frequent Speaker on the bottom-up revolution, politics, The art, science and power of story, heroes and the hero's journey and Positive Psychology. He is a campaign consultant specializing in tapping the power of stories for issue positioning, stump speeches and debates, and optimizing tapping the power of new media. Watch me speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

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To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..

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