Wikimedia Commons is an important resource for photos and media used on Wikipedia and various sister projects. But it is also an amazing store of images that can be freely used in so many other applications, personal or professional, provided you adhere to the prescriptions in the free licenses used on the media.
We thought it would be a useful exercise to pick a theme and see how many interesting images we could find that fit the theme. We chose to center this photo essay on “greetings.” We were delighted to find with the initial search queries of “welcome” and “greeting,” that the subject yielded such a diverse range of images. We sought to expand the search by thinking more broadly about the myriad types of greetings around the world. After reading the article on Wikipedia, a greeting is an act of communication in which human beings (as well as members of the animal kingdom) intentionally make their presence known to each other.
After searching for “greeting” we tried “waving,” “hug,” “kiss,” “haka,” peace sign” and several other search terms. Photos on Commons are sorted into many different categories. So if you already found an image related to the theme you are interested in, it can be useful to click on the categories which appear at the bottom of the image page, below the metadata, to find other images on the same topic. As an example for our search, here is the category for hand waving. If you know a useful category that is missing in the image, you can help Commons by adding it yourself – click “edit” and follow these instructions.
The following gallery shows some of our favorite results, which we’ve selected for the array of greetings they illustrate.
Jordon Hu, Communications Intern
With assistance from Matthew Roth, Global Communications Manager, and Commons contributor InverseHypercube