The Image Atlas Web site they created together will continue, but Simon notes, "the wizard is gone."
When Taryn Simon, a photographer and artist, collaborated with the computer programmer Aaron Swartz last April, she noticed that the way he logged into his online accounts seemed exceptionally complex. “The length of time it took to enter his password conveyed a certain pressure that was upon him,” Simon told me. And indeed, he was facing criminal charges at the time, following his arrest in 2011 for illegally accessing Jstor, a private scholarly database. “There was this sense that something was closing in on him,” Simon added. “Something that needed to be guarded against.”
Despite the government’s case against him, Swartz, who committed suicide last week at the age of 26, was regarded by some as an Internet folk hero and a visionary activist devoted to making locked-up information of public interest freely available.