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CERN Photowalk | Win A Chance To Photograph The Frontline Of Physics

By Kishore Sawh on September 6th 2015


How do you make someone want something? How do you make it desirable? One way is to not let them have it. Exclusivity then, makes something desirable. I mean when we think about the things we want to shoot, in any field, it’s the exotic and rare. If wildlife, it’s less the local squirrel and more an endangered rhino; if aviation, it’s less a Cessna 172 and more an F-14 Tomcat, and so on. When you think of exotic locations and facilities to shoot at, you may think of palaces, the White House, inside the Vatican, or CERN.

CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research and getting to go on a photowalk there is quite literally winning a lottery; it’s like a small city. What goes on inside is like a blend of complete chaos and meticulous organization, which makes sense when you consider borders France and Switzerland.


Inside CERN is the frontline of particle physics, and hideously expensive. Somewhat interesting isn’t it, the inverse relationship between the minuteness of the things being sought and dealt with and the scale of money and size of the facilities needed. Inside are enough magnets to outweigh the Eiffel Tower, and an underground loop that’s a full 16 miles around. It’s the Large Hadron Collider, and getting a chance to get near it is generally reserved for those with IQs higher than Everest. Except now, even mere mortals like me can get a shot of getting a tour and photo-walk of this lab. Starting on September 25th, 20 photographers will get the chance,

For the occasion, CERN will be opening the doors to three of its facilities: the new Linac 4 accelerator, which will shortly start supplying beams to the Large Hadron Collider; CERN’s main workshop, where state-of-the-art technologies can be seen in use; and ISOLDE, which supplies beams to around fifty experiments each year. The photographers will also have the opportunity to take shots of everyday life on the CERN campus



You can apply via the CERN Photowalk site for this once in a lifetime opportunity and really all that’s required is to have a camera that shoots 10MP. You should be aware that the images you shoot, however, will belong to CERN in a sense, though I believe you have a certain amount of rights to them for your own use. The best of the bunch will be selected for an exhibition in 2016, and the final winners will be selected from those via a jury and a public vote. Get your application in now, as the deadline is going to be September 6. Apply here.

And you don’t want to go with just a 10MP camera, so you should enter our Fall Camera Giveaway to win your choice of a Canon 5dSR, Nikon D810, or Sony a7RII. Enter here.

Sources: CERN

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Dustin Baugh

    Great idea for CERN. Instead of paying photographers to photograph your site make it a competition so 20 photographers will do it for free, then make them sign a “Transfer of Copyright in Images” waiver giving you Copyrights over their work.

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  2. Dalibor Tomic

    This would be very cool :)

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  3. Peter Nord

    Little bit of short notice for someone in the States, if you don’t have a current passport and ticket to France. Considering today’s the last day to enter and only 20 get to go. Wonder how many enter? Would be a fun trip. And after you’ve filled up a few 64GB cards, it’s a short drive to the casino in Monaco where you ought to win if you were lucky enough to be one of twenty.

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    • Stephen Jennings

      Short notice for sure, but I woulda made the trip for a once in a lifetime chance like this.. sadly, this won’t be possible since I apparently missed the noon deadline. :( This woulda been awesome, really bummed I didn’t at least get a chance to enter. Maybe next year!

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    • Peter Nord

      If you really want to visit CERN they have free tours. They have school groups all the time. As near as I know the public tours don’t get to visit the underground areas. Check ’em out.

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  4. Lauchlan Toal

    Too cool. While I’ve not had the chance to take photos at CERN, I was lucky enough to visit another major dark matter detection facility called SNOlab. I imagine CERN is even more impressive – quite the opportunity.

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