SPIE IYL2015 Photo Contest

SPIE announces the International Year of Light 2015 Photo Contest.

01 July 2014

SPIE Professional magazine is pleased to sponsor and coordinate a photography contest to celebrate the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL2015).

The SPIE International Year of Light 2015 Photo Contest will award US $4,500 in cash prizes and is open to any photographer in the world beginning 1 July 2014.

Photos showing the vital role that light and light-based technologies play in daily life will be judged on artistry, scientific interest, and technique for the top three prizes. A fourth prize, the “People’s Choice Award,” will be awarded by a popular vote from members of the optics and photonics community and the general public.

In line with the IYL’s goal of raising awareness about light-based technologies, SPIE is committed to reaching as many citizens of the world as possible through the International Year of Light 2015 Photo Contest.

The United Nations General Assembly in December 2013 proclaimed 2015 the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies to promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world and to celebrate significant scientific anniversaries occurring in 2015. The initiative is led by UNESCO, supported by 100 partners from more than 85 countries, and coordinated by the European Physical Society (EPS) and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

"An International Year of Light is a tremendous opportunity to ensure that international policymakers and stakeholders are made aware of the problem-solving potential of light technology,” said SPIE member John Dudley, chair of the IYL2015 Steering Committee.

Dudley, a professor at Université de Franche-Comté and EPS president, added, “We now have a unique opportunity to raise global awareness of this.”

Rural Cambodians make use of a MoonLight, a solar-powered lantern designed to replace the often-dangerous kerosene lamps that are typically found in villages throughout Cambodia and the developing world. The Kamworks lantern uses energy-efficient LED bulbs and is powered by a small solar cell. (Mathieu Young photo)


SPIE Professional invites submissions of print-quality photographs showing how light has revolutionized medicine, astronomy, and clean energy; opened up international communication via the Internet; and continues to be central to linking cultural, economic, and political aspects of the global society.

Judges knowledgeable in light-based technologies and photography, including members of SPIE Student Chapters from around the world, will award a top prize of US $2,500, a second prize of $1,000, and a third prize of $500. The “People’s Choice” prize is $500.

Photographers of all ages are eligible to submit a maximum of two photos that show light or a light-based technology used in everyday life. Photos are not required to be scientific but they should hold some scientific interest and/or communicate the International Year of Light theme.

In addition to scientific interest, judges will evaluate photos on creativity, artistry, and overall appeal. Minimal digital enhancement will be permitted.

Since the top photos will be published on the covers of the print editions of the SPIE member magazine in 2015 and displayed in large format at SPIE Optics + Photonics 2015, only print-quality digital files (TIF and JPG) will be considered. Files smaller than 5 MB or greater than 20 MB cannot be accepted.

All images must be 300 dpi or more and at least 3,000 pixels on the longest side.

See more on the contest rules.

The photo contest will close on 30 September 2014 and prizes will be awarded in 2015.

Founding sponsors of IYL2015 are SPIE and EPS as well as The American Institute of Physics (AIP); the American Physical Society (APS); the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG); the IEEE Photonics Society; the Institute of Physics (IOP); the lightsources.org International Network; and the Optical Society (OSA). Philips Lighting is a patron sponsor.

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