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The key word in the future will be "share"
"Everything that is not given is lost."
Jorge Royan was so inspired by the opening line of City of Joy by Dominique La Pierre, he donated his entire archive of photographs to Wikimedia Commons. By freely licensing his work, he has made it available to anyone to reuse and benefit. And in the process, he said, he made a new friend.
Royan's trove of beautiful images made it onto Wikimedia's servers with the help of Carlos Barcenilla, a Wikimedia volunteer who assists with the technical aspects of adding photographs onto Commons on behalf of Royan.
"At first, I gave him all my images in limited resolution, 1600 pixels," said Royan. "When I saw the kind of feedback I was getting, I gave him all the full size images."
An amateur photographer, Royan began taking photographs before he started his career as an architect, designing and building medium-rise residential buildings, and then he rekindled his hobby after his retirement in 2007.
"Everything had changed, but a good angle was a good angle still," he said.
Interesting people have replaced the built environment as the focus of Royan's photography. He has traveled from Morocco to Cuba, Vietnam to India, because "in the East, you carry who you are in your face. In the West, you do it with what you own."
Having the backing of several embassies has opened the door to Europe for Royan, so he built a motor home in Germany and now travels one month each year to a new European country; this year, he's in France.
Royan's photographs have bee selected as Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Day numerous times, most recently on September 4th and 14th. "The accordionist girl was light as a feather, the accordion heavier than her," he said. "And the chess player, what can I say? He looked and acted as if he was directing an orchestra, instead of some pawns."
To find images, Royan moves around on a bicycle "looking foremost for good light conditions. If the light is not good, there is no photo work possible. Usually I try to do my outdoor shooting later in the day or under shadows. When the sun is harsh, I try to get under a roof."
Today Royan lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he co-owns and manages a storage facility and two artist communities. He also shares his time with his wife and four children. He said he is working to get his artist partners to also donate all their work to Wikimedia.
"I believe strongly that the key word in the future will not be 'wealth,' 'faith' or 'power' but 'share,'" said Royan. "They say that love is the thing that the more you give, the more you have. I hope it gets to be the same about culture, beauty and ideas."
He added, "There is beauty all around us, you only have to look."
Profile by Donna Peterson, Wikimedia Foundation Communications volunteer