The first video game Evan Amos ever played was Super Mario Bros on the classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and he remembers the day clearly: December 25th, 1988. In the 25 years since, the 30-year-old Missouri native has witnessed the evolution of gaming consoles into they state-of-the-art units they are today.
As a game enthusiast and photographer, Amos began to notice the lack of high-quality pictures for game consoles on Wikipedia and on the Internet generally. Feeling that he could do a better job himself, he set out to take his own pictures and upload them.
He started by taking photos of household items in his apartment after he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he uploaded them onto Wikimedia Commons, the freely-licensed image database behind Wikipedia. “The first picture I uploaded was a poorly shot roll of duct tape,” he says. “I knew I wanted to take pictures of the video game consoles I owned, but I took some test shots of things lying around the apartment first.”
He put the duct tape on a piece of white poster board to minimize shadows. He shot it with a Sony A700 DSLR and an inexpensive Impact studio strobe. He used Photoshop to wipe away the remaining shadows, a technique that he applies to the console photos.
“Since this was for an encyclopedia, I wanted the pictures to be as direct, neutral and clean as possible. If you go too stylized in your photos, I think that it limits their application or ability to be educational,” he says. “I’m sure that the style is also what helps the pictures get around as much as they do, because it makes them so easy to use for a variety of projects.”