Bulgarian Iliana Teneva is the participant who contributed with the largest number of submissions in the Bulgarian edition of the “Wiki Loves Earth” contest in 2015. 449 out of the total number of 1617 uploads were delivered by her.
We asked Iliana to shortly present herself in a couple of sentences, and here is what she said:
My name is Iliana Teneva. As long as I remember, I have been taking photos, but a couple of years ago, I discovered that my life is complete only when I am with the camera and the backpack, heading to some new undiscovered place. Then I started reading and learning about photography, and taking photography courses. I still have lots to study, it’s a life-long learning. But my desire is to turn travel and photo shooting into my occupation and destiny.
Vladi: How did you learn about the contest “Wiki Loves Earth”? Why did you decide to take part in it?
Iliana: I heard about “Wiki Loves Earth” from a friend of mine, and I was so happy that I had the possibility to upload as many pictures as I want, showing the beauty of Bulgaria. I think that he had learned about the contest from Facebook.
Vassia: Yes, we noticed that you were often sharing WLE-related pictures and posts from our Facebook page, and I even declared you once our top WLE Ambassador. 🙂
Asen: Do you have a favourite place, where you usually share your photos? Facebook, a photography forum? Have you participated in other photo contests before?
Iliana: Recently, I’ve only been sharing on Facebook. There were times when I participated in photo forums, too, but now I’m hard pressed for time. In any case, this is not the first contest in which I take the plunge to participate.
Vassia: Nevertheless, it has probably been the first one, related to free licensing of the photos. Did you know anything about the free licenses Creative Commons, or you learned about them because of WLE?
Iliana: I have to admit, I am not quite aware with the free license, and what is that…
Vassia: So, it’s a good moment to explain it to you. 🙂 Free licensing is a way for the authors to weave a part of their copyrights, whenever they don’t insist on exercising all their rights and are okay with weaving them partly in favour of the rest of the users. In particular, the author willingly waives his/her right of reward in re-publication of the work, even when this is done for commercial purpose, and waives his/her right to be the sole author by allowing modification.
Asen: In other words, everyone can copy your pictures, distribute and adapt them, and the only requirement is to attribute your name as the original author of the work, and publish the new copy under the same license.
Vassia: In Wikimedia Commons, where you uploaded your submissions, there are 26.5 million images and videos, and all of their – tens of thousands – authors have agreed with the conditions of the free licenses.
Iliana: Okay, so it means that a photo has been endowed, and I don’t see any reason to worry. Many people take pictures, but are rather afraid to grant them, or think all the time that someone is going to rob them. I think that one should also give, not only want to take. This is one way for my pictures to be used, and the fact that I will be seeing them in Wikipedia, can only make me proud.
Vassia: It’s fantastic, this attitude of yours! You must be a Wikipedian by nature! 🙂 Has some of your friends followed your example?
Iliana: Not quite, which surprised me. I believe that one shouldn’t expect to get material reward for everything – there are many other more important things – learning, getting popularity…
Vassia: And in this case – giving opportunity to hundreds of other people to see the world through your eyes. It is, by the way, amazing how few are the people, who, even when they have the possibility, do not opt to go to nature – you have given them the chance to see what they’re missing, and maybe to inspire them to go and see with their own eyes the beauty of Bulgarian nature.
Iliana: Yes, this is how it happens when I upload my photos in Facebook. My friends start asking where is the place, and I also look for directions from the Internet to places, where I haven’t been before.
Asen: Yes, pictures are the easiest way to reach people. With your pictures I also recollected many places around Bulgaria where I’ve been. It was a terrific feeling, and I thank you for that!
Vassia: In contrast to Facebook, in Wikipedia your pictures will be visible to much more people. Iliana, are you interested in writing articles in Wikipedia?
Iliana: Well, I’m not much into writing, but the contest definitely changed my attitude. I started paying more attention to the places where I take my pictures – which is the river, which is the peak I am shooting. It turned out that I am quite confused about some of the older pictures…
Asen: On our turn, we can boast that we “attached” several articles to your photos. Apart of illustrating some existing articles, your pictures gave rise to some new articles about protected territories in Bulgaria.
Iliana: Oh, this is to inspiring! If one just does something, without seeing the fruits of one’s labour, one cannot feel satisfied and happy. And now my pictures will live as long as Wikipedia exists! 🙂
Asen: If we initiate a new similar contest in a month or so, would you take part in it again? Which topic would be interesting for you personally? Or what topic do you consider interesting for the people in general?
Iliana: The topic “Beauties of Bulgaria”. Something that boosts our national self-confidence, maybe specific rituals and festivities, the tourist sites of Bulgaria…
Asen: We were thinking something about the authentic fortresses – with respect to the kitschy restorations funded under EU projects. How do you think, or it is too restrictive of a topic?
Iliana: Yes, this is a good idea. It is true that a large share of the restored sites distort our history, or lead attention in the wrong direction. That would be interesting. I have several friends, who are photographers, who even reproduce rituals in Thracian sanctuaries. If only they decide to get involved…
Vassia: A purely technical question: how did you feel the process of uploading files to Wikimedia Commons? Some people report difficulties…?
Iliana: No, there were no problems with the upload. I found it difficult to find the right nature reserve every time, and in some of the cases I may have mistaken the ID.
Vassia: Oh, don’t worry about such mistakes. We also got to learn a lot about the nature reserves on the occasion of this contest. 🙂 Now, we are going again through all the uploads and review them correcting the IDs, descriptions, and categories. But, by and large, there are not many errors.
Iliana: I wanted to upload as many as possible photos, because for me this was a dream come true: to show all the beauties which I have seen. Bulgaria is so beautiful, I travel every weekend.
Vassia: Last question: You will continue uploading your pictures to Wikipedia in the future, won’t you?
Iliana: Yes, definitely. This is the dream of my life – to travel and take pictures.