For the first time in 2022, the award ceremony of the Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Earth photo competitions took place together. With WLM and WLE, the volunteers of the Wikimedia communities make a significant contribution to nature and monument conservation every year. The national winners were honored at the Leipzig City Archive. More than 750 volunteer photo enthusiasts submitted a total of more than 40,000 photos.
Wiki Loves Monuments not only makes an educational contribution to cultural heritage, but is above all “a great example of a contemporary mediation format at eye level with all heirs of cultural heritage,” says Ulrike Wendland, Executive Director of the German National Committee for Monument Protection (DNK).
The president of the DNK, Gunnar Schellenberger, also expresses great thanks to the volunteers of the Wikimedia projects for organizing the 13th edition of Wiki Loves Monuments and emphasizes: “Monuments are also endangered, as the war in Europe shows us. In this context, documentation is the first of many steps toward their preservation.”
Accompanied by many appreciative greetings, thank-yous and video messages – including from the Minister-President of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer – the award ceremony for the German editions of the Wiki Loves Monuments (WLM) and Wiki Loves Earth (WLE) photo competitions took place for the first time as part of a joint event at the Leipzig City Archive in November 2022.
Monastery and ruby-tailed wasp
In both cases, the sociopolitical dimension of the competitions also came into focus. In view of the extinction of species and the disappearance of habitats and ecosystems worldwide, it is important to “place images and to communicate on all channels to put the vulnerability of nature, our source of life, at the center of the discussion,” said Jörg-Andreas Krüger, President of the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). “An initiative like Wiki Loves Earth is what we need right now.”
More than 750 volunteer photo enthusiasts participated in the German editions of WLM and WLE 2022, submitting more than 40,000 images.
A jury, also made up of volunteers, selected the top 100 for each competition. First place in the WLM competition went to Wikipedian Radomianin – with a shot of the Paulinzella Monastery in the Saalfeld-Rudolstadt district. The photo enables “the viewer to experience the entirety of the building complex,” the jury said. In addition, it manages to refute the words of the poet A. A. Hermann – “And the creation’s greatest masterpiece sinks back into the dust, obsolete”.
The winning image of the Wiki Loves Earth competition in the category “Detail Photography” was taken by Sven Damerow and shows the common ruby-tailed wasp (Chrysis ignita). In the category “Landscape Photography”, user Miseburg took first place with his photo “Hohes Ufer zwischen Ahrenshoop und Wustrow”.
Memory of society
All images in the top 100 are now in the free media archive Wikimedia Commons, available under a free license. Their value extends beyond the Wikimedia projects. “The photographs are a service to environmental and nature conservation and an enrichment for society as a whole,” emphasizes Franziska Heine, Executive Director of Wikimedia Deutschland: “After all, archives are the memory of our society and their works makes a central contribution to democracy.”
Jury member Volker Billeb, himself a professional architectural photographer, expressly encourages people to take part in future competitions: “Show us the natural and cultural monuments from a side that we don’t yet know.”