As we’ve done for the past two years, once again, the Rotman Institute will be recognizing World Philosophy Day with the launch of our annual philosophical photography contest.

Philosophical concepts may be abstract and difficult to convey. Can a photograph show what we cannot say? Can you capture a philosophical concept in a photograph?

  • Could an image convey a phenomenon only accessible introspectively, or qualia?
  • Could it represent the distinction between falsification and verification?
  • Could it depict concepts such as coherence, consciousness, or personal identity?

Previous entries to our photo contest have done just that, in a variety of unique ways!

What does philosophy look like to you? We invite submissions of photographs, from all genres of photography, that somehow make a visual representation of a traditional philosophical topic. Be creative, and submit your best #philosophicalphotography!

How to enter:

  • Photos must be at least 1100 x 1500 pixels, and submitted as a JPEG attachment. High-resolution (300 dpi) images only, please.
  • Each photo must be accompanied by a title and brief description (500 words max).
  • Limit 4 entries per person.
  • Complete the Philosophical Photography Contest entry form for each photo submitted.
  • Name the JPEG file with the title given to the photo on the entry form. Do not include your name in the title of the file.
  • Email each photo to with the subject line, “3rd annual philosophical photo contest entry”.

Entries must be submitted by the contest deadline, January 25, 2019.


Use of photographs:

By participating in the Philosophical Photography Contest, contestants agree to grant the Rotman Institute of Philosophy use of any photos submitted (whether selected as a winning entry or not) for the Institute’s website, social media accounts, print materials, advertising, or event posters. The Institute agrees to always accompany any photographs used with proper credit, including clearly visible use of the photographer’s name.

Judging and prizes:

Submissions will be judged on content, form, composition, and originality. Please note that we are not looking for photographs related to philosophy in general, but to philosophical topics themselves. A simple photograph of an effigy of Aristotle or a sign that reads “Philosophy” does bear some connection to philosophy, but it’s not about a philosophical topic itself—unless a case for it is made.

The winning photos will be selected by our panel of judges, and will be announced on the Institute’s website and social media accounts. A selection of the best entries will be featured on the Institute’s Flickr account, with proper credit given to the photographers. The first place winner will receive a $50 gift card for

We can’t wait to see the photos you submit this year. Happy World Philosophy Day, everyone!

Pictured above: Last year’s winning photograph (submitted by Mark Bessoudo), titled “Qualia”; honourable mention (submitted by Sylvia Wenmackers), titled “Falsification”; honourable mention (submitted by Erlantz Etxeberria), titled “Coherence”. Read photo descriptions, and see other entries that received honourable mentions here.