Conducting a State-Wide Wilderness Photography Contest

A state-wide photography contest is an excellent way to engage the public in your state about the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in 2014. Images from photography contests can be published, made into travelling shows or displays, or showcased online. A new toolkit provides guidance and templates for structuring and conducting a photography contest.

Toolkit in Action: Utah Wilderness50 Photographic Celebration

High Uintas Wilderness, by Cordell Anderson

The Utah Wilderness50 Photographic Celebration is envisioned as a year-long exhibit featuring fifty photographs (one for each year of the Wilderness Act) highlighting the beautiful and sublime wild lands of Utah. The exhibit will travel around Utah throughout 2014 to various venues - museums to galleries, schools to libraries - in an effort to reach the greatest number of people.

Images for this exhibit will be Utah-inclusive and of non-developed public lands only with submissions open to all levels of photographers. Three Utah-based and nationally recognized landscape/nature/wildlife professional photographers have signed-up to make the final selections: James Kay, Tom Till, and Stephen Trimble. The winning images will be professionally matted and framed.

A primary exhibiting partner is being sought to help facilitate logistic, technical, and financial considerations. It is envisioned that this partner will be the first to exhibit in 2014 (or late 2013) and establish high-standards with a professional, museum-quality production. This could include managing image printing, framing, explanatory signage, and coordination with other exhibiting venues.

Possible exhibition locations under consideration will include, among others: airports, museums, colleges and universities, libraries, galleries, transportation hubs, convention centers, and government facilities.

Promotional activities will include, where possible, artists' reception at each venue communicated state-wide. PR releases/media kits and contacts to media will accompany every major venue exhibition. A Utah Wilderness50 website and Facebook page will promote both the exhibition as well as other Utah Wilderness50 events. The website will feature galleries of the selected images as well as photographers' bios and contact info, relevant information about the hosting venues, and details on the lands being illustrated. A small, printed collateral handout will be available at the exhibitions.

Trans-media will be explored as an alternate to the traditional media publication of a 'coffee-table' photo-book. This could take the form of an interactive and highly visual expansion of the Utah Wilderness50 website to include essays (written and audio), videos, and activities for children, etc.

Are you part of a state 50th planning coalition that's doing great work? Tell us about it.