Get your cameras at the ready for a brand-new photography competition! If you live in or are visiting Austria, Finland, Israel, Spain or Sweden this month, take a snap of a piece of public art there and you could win yourself 500 euros in travel certificates.
The Wiki Loves Public Art (WLPA) photography contest launched on 1 May. The Wikimedia/Europeana collaboration encourages people to take pictures of Public Domain artworks and upload their photos under a free licence, so that they can be used in online projects such as Wikipedia.
The goal of the Wiki Loves Public Art contest is to get as many pictures of public art as possible available under a free licence on Wikipedia’s online database, Wikimedia Commons. The photos can then be seen and used by anyone, anywhere. At the same time, the world’s sixth largest website, Wikipedia, will see a boost in its art coverage as photos from the contest can be added to the online encyclopedia to illustrate its articles. The contest is organised by Wikimedia Sverige, Europeana, volunteers in the Wikimedia chapters and affiliated groups in each of the participating countries.
The photos uploaded for the contest will first be judged nationally, after which the ten best pictures from each country will be sent to an international jury. The prizes for the three internationally best pictures – which will be announced in July – are travel gift certificates for 500 euros, 300 euros and 200 euros and on top of that, Europeana has sponsored high quality prints of the winning pictures that will be sent to the winners.
‘We are doing this to increase our common collection of photos of artworks and to make them easily accessible to everyone through Wikipedia. This is also a fun way to start contributing for volunteers’, says the international WLPA coordinator, John Andersson.
The contest has been challenging to organise because most countries lack a national database of their artworks. In addition, the countries participating have a diverse set of copyright laws, so that the public artworks that can be photographed for the contest differ between countries. For example, in Finland the contest focuses on outdoor sculptures whose creators have been dead for 70 years or more. In Spain and Austria, on the other hand, any public artwork can be photographed. In some countries, the focus has been on working with national art museums so that people can go and take photos of particular museum collections.
‘With WLPA, we are also trying to raise awareness of copyright laws and the fact that in some countries national legislation can even make you a criminal for taking photos of publicly owned artworks, the same artworks you pass on your way to work or school every day’, states John Andersson.
Don’t let that worry you though, the nice folks at the national Wikimedia chapters taking part have made lists of the artwork you can photograph as part of the competition. So get out there and get snapping!