Two photographs sent by Indians have won the first and sixth places in what Guinness World Records has called the largest photo competition. Called ‘Wiki Loves Monuments 2012!’ (WLM), the online competition was organised by Wikipedians all over the world, Karthik Nadar, secretary and Board member, Executive Committee, Wikimedia India Chapter, told The Hindu .
Pranav Singh’s photo of Safdarjung’s tomb in New Delhi secured the first place internationally while Narender Kumar’s photo of the Taj Mahal got the sixth place. The two photos had been rated ninth and first respectively in the competition held at the India level. Other Indian finalists sent photos of the country’s tombs, temples and military forts. Narender Kumar told The Hindu that most photos of the Taj are “touristy,” so he took an unusual angle. “Luckily, there was foggy weather,” he said.
While WLM had set the Guinness record for the world’s largest photo contest with 1,68,208 images in 2011, it beat its own record this year with more than 3,50,000 images.
India participated for the first time in the competition this year. It sent the highest number of participants, representing 15 per cent of the 15,000 total contributors from around the world. Over 2,200 photographers contributed nearly 16,000 photos, according to sources in Wikimedia India Chapter.
There is no free-to-use image of more than 99 per cent of monuments in India listed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The aim of the contest was to encourage people to contribute photos to Wikimedia Commons, said Mr. Nadar. The Wikimedia Commons is a sister project of Wikipedia. It is a media file repository that makes available freely licensed educational content (such as images, sound and video clips) to everyone in the world. It acts as a common repository for various projects of the Wikimedia Foundation, including Wikipedia. (Wikipedia.org )
He said anyone could use the photos from the Commons, including for commercial purposes provided the photographer’s name was mentioned. A ‘Photo Walk’ was organised in Mumbai in September (when the contest was on) during which participants took photos for the contest.
Naveen Francis, former secretary and board member, Wikimedia India chapter, told The Hindu that participation from India was “almost uniform” with photos coming from contestants from across the country. The highest participation was from Delhi, with more photos taken of the Taj Mahal and the Qutub Minar. Mumbai followed with photos of Gateway of India.
Mr. Francis said contestants were asked to photograph those monuments recognised by the ASI. The focus was on structures of national and international importance. However, some contestants sent photos of monuments not recognised by the ASI. Those were excluded from the competition. However, they will be used in Wiki Voyage, a new travel website that has launched recently.
The international jury considered 324 images from 33 participating countries in the finale. There were 10 nominations from each participating country for the international round. The Indian jury for the country round had six jury members, who nominated 10 photos from 16,000. Three professional photographers, Gauri Gill, Anup Mathew Thomas and Ryan Lobo, made up the team along with three Wikipedians Arun Ganesh, Kiran Ravikumar, and Sreejith K.