Park visitors from eight states and three foreign countries recently submitted 466 photographs documenting Lowell National Historical Park and the City of Lowell in the park’s inaugural photography contest.
The park utilized social media technology (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Blogs) to help promote the contest, ultimately driving an additional 4,378 unique visitors to the Park’s website and nearly doubling the number of submitted photographs. At present, the top twenty contest photos have been viewed online over 11,000 times.
Visitors from 13 to 85 years old vividly captured a variety of photographs highlighting Lowell’s historic, cultural and natural resources – from distinctive mill architecture to bald eagles floating over a frozen Merrimack River. Edward DiCroce of Lowell earned the grand prize with his photo “Evolve,” a stunning depiction of a mill building reflection within the jagged ice of the Pawtucket Canal. Photography students at neighboring Lowell High School swept first, second and third places in the “Youth” category with their images of mills, foliage, and green urban spaces.
This contest, the first of its kind in park history, encouraged regional photographers and artists to visit the park and view its resources through a fresh “lens” from September 2009 to January 2010. The park celebrated the contest’s conclusion by erecting a semi-permanent exhibit of submitted photographs and hosting a reception attended by over 150 participants.
Local photography professionals Sharon Lowe, Meghan Moore, and Lance Keimig served as contest judges and provided public critiques of the photographs at the opening reception. Ranger Jonathan Parker developed the contest and built an internal website to allow all park employees to vote as a “collective judge” in the evaluation of the 466 photos.
The success of this inaugural contest demonstrates the increasing value of using social media technology to promote park programming. View the winning images and learn more about the contest here.