The annual Olympus Global Open Photo Contest is now accepting entries for the 2016-2017 year. The international contest is open to photographers around the world. Photos shot with any type or brand of camera are acceptable, including smartphones and film cameras. This year, the grand prize includes an Olympus OM-D E-M1 II, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens, and one million Japanese yen (roughly $9,160 U.S. at the current exchange rate).
This is no small award. The OM-D E-M1 II is Olympus’ newest flagship camera and is not yet available in stores. It is the first camera from Olympus to feature 4K video, and also offers blazing-fast performance, with continuous shooting speeds of up to 60 frames per second (when using the electronic shutter). It costs $2,000, while the 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens sells for $1,000.
In addition to the grand prize, Olympus is offering up a first place award in each category that includes an OM-D E-M5 II with the same 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens. Second-place winners in each category will receive the E-M5 II along with the more entry-level 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, while third-place winners will walk away with a PEN E-PL8 and the 14-42mm lens.
Participants can enter up to five photos in each of four categories, although a single photo cannot be entered into more than one category. The categories include Power of Life, Connections to Cherish, Places that Inspire, and Perspectives Often Missed. The categories appear to be purposefully vague, leaving them open to interpretation by the photographers The description for the Power of Life categories reads: “Enter a powerful photo that conveys how beautiful, vibrant, healthy, and full of energy life can be.”
As a true global contest, entries will be judged by an international panel of veteran photographers from various backgrounds who cover everything from fashion to corporate headshots to photojournalism. The six judges are Anne Day of the United States, Kim Lau of Singapore, Yann Manach of France, Silvijo Selman of Croatia, Tetsuro Shimizu of Japan, and Supasit Srisawathsak of Thailand.
To submit a photo, head to the official website. No payment is necessary, but you will need to register with an email address. Entries will be open until January 10, 2017.