Muhammad Mahdi Karim is an avid contributor to Wikimedia Commons and his beautiful photographs have been Featured Pictures and Pictures of the Day, regarded as some of the finest images on the database. Karim describes his motivation for contributing to Wikipedia as the opportunity to share a memory with others.
“If I see something that others may never get to see or be in a place that some may never visit, it would be wasteful of me not to preserve these memories and share them with those who wish to experience them but are unable to do so,” he said. “Photographs help preserve these and Wikipedia provides a platform to share them.”
Karim was born in Moshi, Tanzania, a small town near the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Now, he studies computer science full time in Bangalore, India.
Karim discovered Wikipedia years ago when he mistakenly erased the contents of an entry. However, this simple accident led him back to the online encyclopedia. “I was inspired by seeing pictures of nature on Wikipedia, ” he said. Soon, Karim began uploading his own photos to forums.
Not all feedback was positive, however. “I was not very well-versed with photographic techniques, but after criticism from users, I have improved my skills to both my and Wikipedia’s benefit.”
This ability to change and grow through the use of Wikipedia is, as Karim put it, redefining what it means to be an encyclopedia. “It‘s a community of dedicated users who help one another to improve the content and in the process improve themselves. Today, I have in turn taken a few good pictures and helped to preserve a small part of our world. If others can take inspiration from my work to preserve, protect or improve out world, I will take great pleasure in that.”
Karim said that he’ll continue to contribute to Wikipedia, because, “apart from Google, it’s the only other site I can’t live without anymore. I can do without Youtube and Facebook, but take away Wikipedia and you’ve left me stranded.”
(View more of Karim’s images at his user page here.)
Interview and Profile by Zoe Bernard, Communications Intern