Southwest China's oldest and most comprehensive English-language website is partnering with one of Yunnan's most famous tourist attractions to commence a fully interactive online photography contest. GoKunming is proud to announce the start of the Stone Forest International Photography Competition 2016. At a press conference held September 19 in the Yunnan meeting room of the Sofitel Kunming, Wang Yongqiao (王永乔), vice president of the Stone Forest Scenic Area Administration, explained to reporters, VIPs and photographers, the thinking behind launching such an endeavor:
The Stone Forest has been visited by millions of tourists because of its distinctively beautiful Karst rock formations and alluring Yi minority culture. In celebration of these two uniquely Yunnanese features, the Stone Forest International Photography Competition 2016 invites anyone, anywhere in the world with beautiful digital images of this destination to participate.
People interested in submitting photos to the contest can visit the official contest website here on GoKunming, and after a quick sign-up process — or by logging in to an existing account — upload up to ten of their best photos taken at the Stone Forest. The contest is designed to be fully interactive. Photographers can upload their photos and then anyone in the world can vote for their favorites. Then, both voters and entrants can share their actions on social media, thus encouraging more people to participate.
"Our goal is to show the world what Yunnan and the Stone Forest are all about through the art of photography," said GoKunming CEO Yereth Jansen. "Hopefully, the contest will raise not only international awareness of the amazing people and places of Yunnan, but also allow local and foreign photographers to showcase their talent," he said.
The press conference announcing the Stone Forest International Photography Competition 2016 began with Yi minority performers staging a traditional dance. Following them was a short contest introduction by host Tindy Chen, with Jansen introducing the jury members. The panel of judges is comprised of professional photographers Ben Bohane, a photojournalist specializing in conflict zones and founder of Waka Photo Agency; Oliver Huang, director of the international marketing division of the Yunnan Tourism Development Committee; Jansen, photographer and CEO at CloudBridge Consulting International and GoKunming; Liu Zhimin, Chairman of the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Association Travel Photography Society; and Frits Meyst, a nature photographer and winner of the 'Zilveren Camera' Silver Camera Award.
Anyone will be able to vote online to choose weekly winners, as well as best photos in the categories 'Nature', 'Culture', and 'People'. At competition's end, the jury of professional photographers will select the overall best picture, which will be announced at a photography exhibition featuring all of the contest winners in late November. The showcase will be staged in Sofitel Kunming and, and winning photos will be featured on GoKunming as well by national and international media partners.
The victors in each category will not only have their photographs displayed at the exhibition, but will also receive awards. The contest's top jury prize is a DJI Inspire 1 V2.0 drone and camera package valued at US$1,999. Meanwhile, each category winner will be awarded a prize package consisting of an all-inclusive weekend stay for two at Sofitel Kunming, two VIP tickets to Yang Liping's dance drama Dynamic Yunnan, and two free passes for their next visit to the Stone Forest. All prize winners will also receive a gift package of mu'er (木耳), organically grown in the Stone Forest by Sunrise Manor (旭润庄园) and a box of natural energy bars provided by Dali Bars (达力巴). Contest logistics were expertly provided for by Wonders of Yunnan.
The Stone Forest International Photography Competition 2016 officially begins today and runs through November 14. All submitted photography is subject to a user agreement also available on the contest website. Submit any questions through the GoKunming contact form. We encourage anyone to enter, and then share the the website, their uploads and favorite photos on social media to garner more votes. Good luck!
Third image: Adrian Golobic
All other images: He Xinwen (何新闻)