When SPIE Professional magazine invited submissions to the SPIE International Year of Light Photo Contest last summer, organizers had no idea what to expect. They asked amateur and professional photographers to celebrate the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies by submitting photographs depicting light and light-based technologies in everyday life.
Would the judges have to sift through dozens and dozens of rainbow and sunset pictures? Selfies? Would optics and photonics researchers send images of their laser experiments or retinal scans? Perhaps the astrophotography community would want the world to see their latest scientific images from far out in the solar system?
When contest submissions closed at the end of September, organizers and judges were blown away by the creativity, artistry, diversity and thoughtfulness of photographers from all over the world. There were a fair number of rainbows, sunsets, shadow scenes, and naturally occurring optical phenomena among the nearly 800 photographs submitted. And hundreds of other gorgeous photos showing solar panels, LEDs, lasers, medical procedures and other ways that light plays a central and daily role in linking cultural, economic, and political aspects of global society.
There was only one selfie, and it depicts so much light-based technology that it was selected as a finalist for the People's Choice Award.
Judges for the photo contest included SPIE Student Chapter leaders, art students, and an executive panel that selected the top three from a group of 35 finalists for prizes. The remaining 32 images will be eligible for the People's Choice Award later this year.
SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs says he was "impressed by the quality, variety, and large number of submissions."
Not only do the top three photos highlight the diversity of applications for LEDs, but the people who took these photographs are also representative of the
diverse people of the world celebrating this International Year of Light
and light-based Technologies.
Stunning images .... Beautiful use of an optics and photonics technology in daily life ....
Photonics, indeed, does make for a better world.