The Love Life competition is part of the Academy’s ongoing community engagement programme. The sense of wonder on the faces of children engaging with the exhibits in Academy captured in some of the photographs displayed in the competition gallery and freely uploaded to the competition website is a profound endorsement of the facility and the people who visit.

Measureable Results

2,000 images were entered; and
8% of visitors to the landing page entered the competition.

The California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is the only institution in the world to combine a museum, aquarium, planetarium, and world-class research and education programs under one roof. This unique combination allows visitors to explore the depths of a Philippine coral reef, climb into the canopy of a Costa Rican rainforest, and fly to the outer reaches of the Universe—all in a single visit. Located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the building sets a new standard for sustainable architecture and received the highest possible rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. It also provides a home for research scientists who launch dozens of expeditions each year to document biodiversity around the world, as well as the museum’s 26 million research specimens—which are essential tools for comparative studies on the history and future of life on Earth.

History of the Academy’s LoveLife Competition

Inspired by their commitment to life on Earth, the Academy kicked off their annual LoveLife photo competition in 2011, in which they asked visitors to submit their best photos of the Academy and the natural world for judging by top photo experts. After two highly successful annual competitions where contestants entered their images through the Academy’s Flickr pool, it was time to bring the competition back to the Academy’s own website. For 2013, the LoveLife team wanted to create something that would have the Academy brand and would give them creative flexibility for a seamless experience from the competition interface to the Academy’s award winning website design. In 2013, Picturk joined the picture and the Academy was rewarded with the seamlessly integrated competition platform they had been looking for.

The 2013 LoveLife Competition: “Powered by Picturk”

We really listened to Gary Sharlow, the program manager at the Academy to understand their requirements. Gary is a photographer and had real insight into the kind of competition that would appeal to Academy’s members. Picturk created a fun Academy branded experience where people could share their special moments, captured on camera, within the Academy walls. We integrated social mechanics to enable people to share their competition images. An added incentive to share images was the “People’s Choice Award”, a social media integrated voting system that allowed the contestants and voters to share their favorite images. At Gary’s suggestion we included functionality where people could vote for their favorite images using Picturk’s Facebook voting application, which adds a reference on the voter’s timeline with a thumbnail and a link back to the competition. The social media integration has been a huge success with over 50% of the traffic to the Academy’s competition coming from social media channels.

A Seamless Experience

The competition gallery speaks for itself. Over a 1,000 photographs were entered in the competition. People shared their experiences, trusted the gallery with their family pictures and shared their Academy memories and enthusiasm for the natural world. The photographs collected through the competition really illustrate the great affection that people have for the Academy as a leading environmental institution. You could really see the sense of wonder on the faces of children engaging with the exhibits in some of the images that were freely uploaded to the competition website. This serves as a profound endorsement of the facility and the people who visit. The photographs are playful, thoughtful, and often profoundly beautiful.

“It’s been a sincere pleasure working with the Picturk team. We conducted a thorough analysis of several competition platforms, while searching for the one that met a long list of needs, and the Picturk platform rose right to the top. We liked that the platform was created by photographers for photographers with photographers as their interest in the design and implementation process. Not only did Picturk fill more of our wish list than any other option we found, their IT team willingly and capably adapted the platform to meet additional needs beyond its original offerings. Not only that, they also offered up suggestions from the perspective of the people who would be entering the competition. They truly care about what they do, and it shows. Thanks guys!“ Gary Sharlow, California Academy of Sciences.

Visit the competition website »

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