Bangladesh has taken part in the international Wiki loves monuments photography competition for the first time in 2016. However, the discussion about participating in the contest had started long before in the Bangladeshi Wikimedia Community. The photography competition went global in 2011. Since then Wikimedia Bangladesh — an independent organization that works to advance the Wikimedia movement — have been evaluating the possibilities to participate in this competition. The main challenges at that time had been the unavailability of appropriate list of the local monuments and lack of enthusiastic volunteers to do the ground works. Earlier in 2016, the issue was raised again in the board meeting of Wikimedia Bangladesh and the board decided to join the contest this year. Shortly after that meeting, the preparation for joining the competition started in full swing. First challenge was to compile and create a list of all the monuments and identify them by creating a unique ID number as most of the monuments in Bangladesh don't have government assigned unique identification number.
Since this is our first year in the competition, we decided to participate with the archaeological sites of Bangladesh only and wanted to expand the list in the upcoming years. So, as a first step, we created a list of 452 archaeological sites of Bangladesh that are enlisted by the Department of Archeology of Bangladesh Government and identified them by creating a unique ID number for each of the monuments following the ISO code. The main motivation behind participating with only the archeological sites was that, most of the archeological sites in Bangladesh don’t have photographs under free license and we wanted to create a database of freely licensed photographs of all the archaeological sites of Bangladesh in Wikimedia Commons; Wiki Loves Monuments offered an unique opportunity in this regard. We partnered with seven local photography clubs[note1] in order to get the words out among the photographic community in Bangladesh. The event also received good press coverage across the country, both in mainstream print and online media.
During the competition, a total of 204 Bangladeshi participants uploaded more than 7000+ freely licensed photographs of 250+ different archeological monuments and sites in Wikimedia Commons. Among all the participants, 10% of them were women, a participation rate which is more than that of any other previous Wikimedia related competition held in Bangladesh. Though it is still the early days, about 22% of all the photographs uploaded in the contest are now being used in Wikimedia projects. Out of the 7000+ photographs, the jury[note2] of the Wiki Loves Monuments Bangladesh Contest have selected the 10 winning photographs.
All the 10 winning photographs are stunning, extraordinary and, of course, released by their authors under free license. The global winners will be announced later in this year and we have to wait to see whether any of these 10 winning photographs from Bangladesh makes it to the top list of the global winners list. To view the winners of other participating countries please visit: Wiki Loves Monuments 2016 winners. Here are the top 10 photographs that will represent Bangladesh as the finalists of the international contest, as decided by our jury:
[note1]: Our seven local promoting partners were: Amateur Photography Group, Travelers of Bangladesh, Grasshoppers Photographers Community, Through The Lens:Bangladesh, Rajshahi photography society, Jahangirnagar University Photographic Society & Shahjalal University Photographers Association.
[note2]: The jury of Bangladeshi competition consisted of 6 experienced photographers both from in and outside the community. They were: Monirul Alam, Akkas Mahmud, W.carter, Slaunger, King of Hearts and Colin.