I got an idea in May, 2012, as the Eurovision Song Contest was ending and Loreen had just been named the 2012 winner, with her song Euphoria. Because Loreen represented Sweden, the 2013 contest would be held in my country. This would create an exciting opportunity for me and Wikipedia, because my home is in Gothenburg, and I could take really good photos for the Wikimedia Commons database.
Eurovision Song Contest is well documented on Wikipedia. The contest was started in 1956, and currently has Wikipedia articles in 91 languages, many including information on artists and their songs, statistics, voting history, the rules and points awarded. My idea started here because there are not many photos and the quality varies; occasionally someone sitting in the audience at the show manages to take a photo with their phone, but there were not many quality images. Using the CC-BY-SA-3.0 license, anyone would be free to copy, distribute and edit my photos, as long as I am attributed and new versions of the photos have the same license.
The most common use of photos on Wikimedia Commons is in Wikipedia articles, and photos enhance the articles. My goal was to make it possible to have really good, professional photos of every artist in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. Newspapers, magazines, websites and other media outlets that did not send a photographer to Malmö could also use my photos from the database.
I applied for photo accreditation and, at first, my application was denied because the Head of Delegation saw me as a fan and not as a serious photographer. Then some members of Wikimedia Sverige managed to explain my intentions and the purpose of my application. When I was finally approved, it meant that I had the same rights as all the other 1700 photographers and journalists at the contest.
It has been an amazing week, and a very successful project. I took thousands of photos and right now over 500 are uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. They are categorized under: contestants, countries, rehearsals and/or press conferences. All of them are also under the category Photos taken by Albin Olsson during the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. There are close-ups of almost all of the artists, photos of the artists performing their songs on stage, and also videos I filmed.
The 2013 Eurovision Song contest winner was Emmelie de Forest, from Denmark, with her song “Only Teardrops.” My photograph of de Forest has already been used in 36 different languages on Wikipedia, including Japanese and Chinese.
Since non-freely licensed material is not permitted on Wikimedia Commons, I couldn’t upload the songs or videos containing the songs, but I filmed more than 32 clips where 12 of the artists present themselves. All in English, but 11 of them in at least one other language (you can find the videos in the commons category Videos from Eurovision Song Contest 2013 and I might add a few more). It feels really cool that the Wikipedia articles don’t just have a nice photo at the top of their infoboxes, but a short video too.