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PHOTOGRAPHY

It’s the world’s biggest photography contest

Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Calif.
Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Calif.Codera23/Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia is part of Wikimedia. So’s Wikimedia Commons, which offers online nearly 65 million free-use media files: audio clips, videos, and photographs.

Wikimedia Commons sponsors what’s become the world’s largest photography contest, Wiki Loves Monuments. If that sounds a little too much like “Joanie Loves Chachi,” well, so be it.

The competition, which started in the Netherlands in 2010, now includes 76 national competitions. More than 60,000 photographers have submitted some 1.7 million images of cultural and historic sites.

Last year’s US winner was a photograph of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in La Jolla, Calif. Among the nine runners-up was a photograph of the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette, Ill. That gives a sense of the range of monuments: from an internationally renowned architectural masterpiece to one less well known, the world’s oldest surviving Baha’i temple.

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Baha'i Temple, in Wilmette, Ill., seen at dusk, Aug. 28, 2018
Baha'i Temple, in Wilmette, Ill., seen at dusk, Aug. 28, 2018Michael Stone

This year’s US contest runs through Oct. 31. For rules, go to commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Wiki_Loves_Monuments_2020_in_the_United_States. There are cash prizes for the top 10 finishers, ranging from $500 to $50. But the real prize — beside the ego boost of winning, of course — is the satisfaction of contributing to Wiki Commons.

In a digital world of trolls and phishing and paywalls, it’s easy to forget that parts of the Web remain as originally envisioned: idealistic and public-spirited and not-for-profit. Wiki Commons is there for the common good. How nice to put one’s camera at the service of such an enterprise.


Mark Feeney can be reached at mark.feeney@globe.com.