For Wikimedia Commons contributor George Chernilevsky, the appeal of his Picture of the Day lies in its simplicity. “I liked the colors and very simple composition,” he said. “All the beauty of the world can be seen in very simple things.”
Chernilevsky, who lives in Ukraine, was visiting the Black Sea with his wife Natali and his two sons, Artem and Vyacheslav, when he took this picture. His younger son Vyacheslav, who turns 16 today, found this shell belonging to a species of scallop (Flexopecten glaber ponticus) believed to have been extinct since 1990. Chernilevsky took the picture using his point-and-shoot camera, and he is happy the photo turned out so well and that it was able to gain recognition on Commons.
“I am glad that the photo will be seen by people in different countries,” he said, explaining his main motivation for donating his images to the public domain. “It is pleasant to me that the whole world can see what I saw, and that my photos can benefit people.”
He has been active on Wikimedia Commons since 2007, when he started uploading pictures for articles on Russian Wikipedia. “It is a fine project in which it is pleasant to participate,” he said.
Chernilevsky was born in 1967 in Makhachkala, located in the Caucasus region of what was at the time the Soviet Union. His father was a lieutenant colonel in the military, so Chernilevsky moved around a lot when he was growing up, and his experiences helped shape his later photographic style.
“Living conditions were very simple, ascetic,” said Chernilevsky, who tends to favor simplicity in his photographs. In addition, he developed a strong interest in wildlife and nature. “[I got] to see a lot of beautiful and wild places,” he said, “the heated sand of the desert, ice tundra, the mountains and permafrost of the extreme Siberian North, huge woods and transparent lakes.”
He has been interested in photography since the age of 12, and at 14, he even enrolled in painting and drawing classes at university, hoping the knowledge would help him advance his shooting. However, Chernilevsky has only ever pursued photography as a hobby, not professionally. He attended Saint Petersburg State University where he studied in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes, and he currently works in software development.
Chernilevsky hopes that his photographs will communicate “a special message” to viewers: “Life is fine and unexpected–simple things can surprise and give emotions.”
(View more of Chernilevsky’s featured pictures)
Elaine Mao, Communications Intern