Cash prizes, cover placement on the line in contest for photos showing light, light-based technology

Light-themed contest sponsored by optics and photonics society magazine SPIE Professional

16 August 2014

SPIE International Year of Light 2015 Photo ContestBELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- The SPIE International Year of Light 2015 Photo Contest is underway, offering entrants the chance to win up to US$2,500, with a total of US$4,500 in prize money offered. Photographs from four winners will be featured on the cover of an issue of SPIE Professional, the membership magazine of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

SPIE Professional is sponsoring the contest to increase public awareness of the important and exciting technologies of optics and photonics, in conjunction with the United Nations International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL2015).

With optics and photonics encompassing fields such as medical imaging, renewable energy, astronomy, laser, telecommunications, and optical engineering, the contest is drawing photographers as well as science and technology enthusiasts to participate in capturing the remarkable properties of light.

Contestants may submit up to two photographs demonstrating how light or light-based technology is a part of everyday life.

Besides the first prize of US$2,500, entrants have the chance to win US$1,000 for second place, US$500 for third place, and US$500 for the publicly voted People's Choice award.

Because winning photos will be featured on the magazine's cover, only print-quality submissions of size 5MB to 20MB will be accepted.

Only minimal digital enhancement is permitted, and photos should demonstrate real-life scenarios in which light or light-based technology is an essential part of life. The contest website ( has complete entry information.

Entries must be submitted by 30 September. The third-place winner will be announced in January, second-place in April, first-place in July, and People's Choice in October.

Photos will be judged by a panel of 43 judges including optics and photonics researchers, prize-winning photographers, and student leaders on the basis of scientific interest, artistry, creativity, overall appeal, and how well they illustrate the IYL2015 theme. Among the judges are:

  • Mathieu Young, a photographer and director based in Los Angeles, California, who volunteers his services for social enterprises including organizations focused on bringing solar power to the developing world. His images have appeared in Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, and elsewhere.
  • Felice Frankel, science photographer and research scientist for the Center for Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Frankel's images have been published in publications including National Geographic, Nature, Science, and Discover.
  • Joseph Niemela, a senior researcher at the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP)  in Trieste, Italy. In addition to being an avid travel photographer with work published in la Repubblica and Il Piccolo, Niemela conducts research in fluid dynamics and low-temperature physics, heads the ICTP Office of External Activities, organizes the annual ICTP Winter College on Optics, and serves as the global secretariat for IYL2015.
  • Netherlands native Jana Huisman, appointed in April 2013 to be the Photonics21 Young Ambassador for Photonics Education. She is pursuing an MSc in physics and nanotechnology at the Danish Technical University and is an official observer in the Group of Young Advisors to the Digital Agenda for Europe.
  • Leaders of SPIE Student Chapters in Belgium, Mexico, Ireland, Australia, and elsewhere and graduate students from biomedical illustration and communications programs at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Toronto Mississauga will also serve as judges.

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves nearly 256,000 constituents from approximately 155 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent. SPIE provided more than $3.2 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2013.


Amy Nelson
Public Relations Manager
+1 360 685 5478