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Photos: The artsy side of the wiki world

With Wikimania 2006 set to kick off Friday, a panel of judges turns their eyes to photos, maps and more.
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Vaalankurkku railway bridge

Wikimania 2006, the second annual international Wikimedia conference, kicks off Friday in Cambridge, Mass. Jimmy Wales, the founder of the Wikipedia Project, will be a keynote speaker.

As part of the conference, the Wikimania Awards will call out the best video, audio, image and textual material contributed to various Wikimedia projects. This gallery takes a look at some of the nominees for the best original image categories. Anything created after August 8, 2005--including images taken on the way to, or at the conference--is eligible to win.

Nominated in the category of nature photography, this picture from the Wikimedia Commons shows the Vaalankurkku railway bridge in Finland. It was taken by Teemu Vehkaoja with a Nikon D50 on the morning of March 13, 2006. The misting waterway is the Oulujoki River.

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British Museum reading room

This panorama of the British Museum Reading Room consists of several shots taken with a Canon 5D and then stitched together in Adobe Photoshop CS2. When viewed in its highest resolution, the photo is sharp enough to reveal the detailed gold filigree above the windows. It was nominated for the "photography places" category.

The creator of the photo used in the British Museum entry of Wikipedia is listed as "Diliff."

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"Another Place"

Chris Howells took this picture of Antony Gormley's "Another Place," a series of 100 human sculptures placed to look out upon the ocean. The exhibit, currently in Liverpool, England, will move to New York in November.

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"A petrified log in Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, U.S.A." taken by Wikipedia contributor "Moondigger," who does not offer his real name in his profile. The photo was a featured "picture of the day" on the Wikimedia Commons home page July 21.

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Australian War Memorial

"Australian War Memorial, Canberra" was taken with a Canon 20D. The sky was completely replaced via digital editing, according to the photographer, a high-school student from Victoria, Australia. He goes by Fir0002 on Wikipedia.

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Han dynasty

Wikimania Awards are also rewarded to those who create original art for entries. This map of China's Han Dynasty in the second century was nominated in the category of best maps and diagrams. Creator Yeu Ninje notes in her entry that she included both the original border of the Han dynasty and the border of territories claimed today by the People's Republic of China.

The political commentary Ninje incorporated into her work is an example of so-called citizen journalism, a school of reporting on the world that's burgeoning in the Wikipedia era. As part of the Wikimania 2006 program, a Citizen Journalism event will take place August 7.

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Ant anatomy

This diagram, also nominated in the category of maps and diagrams, shows the basic morphology of a worker ant. Mariana Ruiz Villarreal of Germany created it.

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River otters

This photo of two North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) was taken by Dmitry Azovtsev. It is part of Wikimedia Commons, a repository for free-use media intended as a resource for authors of Wikipedia entries.

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Leaf morphology

Nominated in the category of maps and diagrams, this chart of leaf morphology characteristics was created on January 2006 by a Wikipedia contributor who goes by the alias "Debivort." It was made for use with the Wikipedia entry for "Leaf."

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