Shutterbugs combat litter bugs for Pennsylvania Resources Council photo contest | Visual Art | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Shutterbugs combat litter bugs for Pennsylvania Resources Council photo contest

click to enlarge The city of Pittsburgh is foregrounded by a pile of trash photographed under a bridge.
Photo: Zoe Broyles/Pennsylvania Resources Council
2021 Gene Capaldi Lens on Litter Photo Contest winner “Rachel Carson’s Dream” by Zoe Broyles
Still-life photography can provide a fresh new perspective on the objects, architecture, or infrastructure of everyday life. One contest will turn the genre into environmental action by encouraging shutterbugs to capture garbage left behind by litter bugs.

Pennsylvania Resources Council announced the latest rendition of its Gene Capaldi Lens on Litter Photo Contest, an annual event meant to engage the public with their surroundings in a meaningful way. Named after an especially dedicated PRC volunteer, the contest strives to capture "ugly and avoidable examples of littering" and galvanize "public commitment to solutions," according to a press release.

According to its website, the Pennsylvania Resources Council, a nonprofit environmental organization with a stated mission to "prevent waste and conserve Pennsylvania’s environmental resources for each generation," has sponsored the contest since 1984.


“Littering and dumping impacts Pennsylvanians everywhere and is both an environmental and economic problem,” says Darren Spielman, executive director of PRC. “We must tackle the Commonwealth’s growing waste problem and start moving toward the goals of a zero-waste and circular economy where post-consumer materials are reused and recycled.”

From now up until Oct. 31, PRC invites amateur photographers in Pittsburgh and all over the state to submit original images demonstrating the ways in which litter “spoils our Commonwealth in the hopes that education and action will follow.” Contestants are eligible for monetary prizes up to $500. All submitted photos may then be used by PRC at the nonprofit’s discretion.

The contest features two categories, one open to students and one for adults. Submitted photos will be judged on a number of criteria, including originality, technique, title, and power of the anti-litter message. Entrants are also encouraged to initiate a clean-up of their photographed area for extra judging points.

Three prizes will be awarded in each category, with the first-place winner receiving $500, second-place $250, and third-place $100.


The 2021 Lens on Litter winners included students from Fox Chapel Area High School, Corry Alliance Academy, and Turtle Creek Elementary STEAM Academy. The adult category included awardees from Pittsburgh, Wexford, and Sewickley.

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