You've Seen His Photos, But You've Never Heard of Him

Evan Amos, "A pile of Gimbal's Jelly Beans"
Evan Amos, "A pile of Gimbal's Jelly Beans" / Evan Amos, "A pile of Gimbal's Jelly Beans"

Evan Amos is a photographer who gives away his work. He takes photos of food, games, and all kinds of other stuff, then posts the high-quality photos on Wikipedia as "public domain" (meaning, he gives up his copyright), thus allowing anyone, anywhere, to use the photos as they wish. And boy, do those photos get around.

If you look up duct tape, you'll see his photo there. If you stumble across the good old Nintendo Entertainment System, those are his photos too. Hell, he even shot the primary photo for the Bananagrams page. His work is everywhere, and it's great. Now Evan needs your help, so he can dramatically expand his free-photography work. He's running a Kickstarter campaign to photograph vintage video game systems, then give away those photos as well. I donated to help him out -- and I think you should too. He doesn't stand to profit from this campaign, but we as users of the web do.

I've used Evan's work on the mental_floss blog many times, though I never knew who he was until his Kickstarter campaign appeared. His McNuggets photo illustrates the first item on our 30 Things Turning 30 This Year list. His Nintendo photos show up in Did Blowing into Nintendo Cartridges Really Help? And his photo of Sno Balls is featured in Kara Kovalchik's Beyond the Twinkie: 5 Other Hostess Products We're Losing. It's fair to say that if you read the web for long enough, you will encounter his work, though you may not know it -- and that's actually kind of great, because he intentionally gives it away for public domain use.

In a recent article about his work, Evan wrote:

There is a huge need for this. There is no one else trying to provide this service at this level, at this quality, at this reach (Wikipedia) and in a format (public domain) that will ensure that these photos will last for decades from now. The work that I've already created and its impact thus far is a testament to the importance of the project. These are the reasons why I do this work, and why I do it for free.

I can't say it any better than that. The man is doing amazing work, and I'm putting a few bucks towards expanding the catalogue. I hope you'll do the same.

Just in case it isn't clear: I don't have any relationship with Evan, I don't stand to gain from his Kickstarter campaign (except that his new images may be useful in future articles), and he didn't ask me to write this. But when I saw his project, I felt the need to toot his horn for him. He's at a critical point where funding within this coming week will make or break the project. Please take a look and chip in a few bucks.