Home » Secretariat for Political Affairs » DECO » Snapshots of Democracy Photo Contest » Rules



1.1 “Snapshots of Democracy” is a photo contest (the Contest) sponsored by the Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO) of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (GS/OAS) and the GS/OAS’ AMA | Art Museum of the Americas (AMA), to celebrate the 50 years of electoral observation by the Organization of American States (OAS) in the Americas.

1.2 Grab your cameras and capture the spirit and strength of democracy. Let the images caught by your cameras’ lenses convey the meaning of democracy and elections for you, for your community and for your country.  The Contest is open to all photographers, amateurs, professional and anything in-between, except for GS/OAS staff members, GS/OAS consultants or elected officials of any body or organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) or OAS representatives, delegates or permanent observers, or their immediate family members. 1


The sponsor of the “Snapshots of Democracy” photo contest is the GS/OAS, through DECO and through AMA.


Submissions for the Contest will be accepted beginning on August 13, 2012 at 1:00 am Eastern Time, through September 13, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.  For more information regarding time zones click here.


The Contest is open to all photographers, professional, amateur, and everything in between, in the following two categories: those who are or have been OAS Electoral observers; and the general public. All contestants will be required to sign an entry form (available online) to participate in the Contest.  Photographers must be at least 18 years of age to participate in the Contest. Images submitted for the Contest (the Images) must be unpublished.


Staff members of GS/OAS, consultants or elected officials of any body or organ of the OAS, representatives or delegates of the OAS Member States and OAS Permanent Observers are not eligible. Also, relatives and family members of the individuals mentioned in this section are not eligible to compete.   


6.1 OBSERVERS: Open exclusively to those persons who have been observers of an OAS Electoral Observation Mission (OAS/EOM).

6.2 GENERAL PUBLIC: Open to the general public.


7.1 Each contestant will be able to submit as many as 2 unpublished Images by uploading them on the contest Web site. By submitting the Images, contestants represent that they are the sole owners of the Images and hold the intellectual property rights to them, and grant to GS/OAS unlimited, non-exclusive license to GS/OAS to use the Images on its Web sites and advertising materials, as well as to display them at the AMA. The OAS will provide credit to the photographer in case it uses the Images.

7.2 Images created via any form of photography will be accepted for consideration (film, digital, mobile phone, and alternative processes), but must be submitted electronically as indicated below.

7.3 To enter Images go to the contest Web site, complete the information required and upload the Images. You should submit JPEG Images saved with max quality compression with a long dimension of 1,000 pixels at 72 to 300 dpi with sRGB. Please do not submit Images larger than 2 Megabytes. All contestants must have high-resolution versions of the Images submitted.



A panel of experts, comprised of Dr. Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, Acting Director of DECO; Patricia Esquenazi, OAS Press Director; Andres Navia, Head of the AMA; Claudia Palacios, Anchor of CCN en Español, Indira Williams Babic, senior Manager of Visual Resources at Newseum will be the Contest judges.


Participating Images will be judged based on the criteria described below. The selection process consists of two rounds of evaluations. During the first round, the judges will select a group of “finalist” Images in each category based on creativity (34%), technical competence (33%) and effectiveness in expressing the Contest theme (33%). The Images selected in each category will go through a second round, where the judges will collectively select the winning Images based on the same criteria used to select the finalists. The judges’ decisions are final.


Contestants who submitted the winning Images will be notified by email.


10.1 Observer’s category:

First Place: An economy-class roundtrip fare to Washington, DC, USA, for the Exhibit’s opening day, including 2 nights of Travel Subsistence Allowance at the schedule of rates established at the time by GS/OAS. The photographer will be responsible for obtaining his/her own travel visa to attend the event.

Second place:  US $200. 

Third Place: US $100.

Special acknowledgements: For each category, the judges will select 3 Images that will be awarded special acknowledgment.

10.2 General Public:

First Place: The photographer of the image selected for first place will be invited to participate as an observer in an OAS/EOM, including arrangement and payment by GS/OAS of economy-class roundtrip airfare, lodging expenses and Travel Subsistence Allowance at the schedule of rates established at the time by GS/OAS during the OAS/EOM. Eligibility to participate in the EOM will be subject to the criteria set forth in the OAS Manual for Electoral Observation Missions.  The photographer will be responsible for obtaining his/her own travel visa to attend the OAS/EOM; to this end, the OAS/GS will provide support documentation to obtain a visa to the Member State where the OAS/EOM will take place.

Second place:  US $200.  

Third Place: US $100.

Special acknowledgements: For each category, the judges will select 3 Images that will be awarded special acknowledgment.

10.3 All the winning Images will be exhibited at the AMA during the first week of November, beginning with the Exhibit’s opening day of November 1st, 2012. The GS/OAS will also publish the winning Images on its Web Site and will consider creating a 2013 calendar with those Images.


11.1 Each one of the submitted Images must be an original work taken by the person submitting it and must not have been previously published. Images may have been taken at any time and must not contain obscene, sexually explicit or any other type of contents that may be considered inappropriate by GS/OAS.

11.2 By entering this Contest, photographers agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless GS/OAS, its personnel, affiliates, officers, agents and representatives, from any and all third party liability for any injuries, loss, claim, action, demand or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the Contest (collectivelly Losses), including without limitation any third party claim for copyright infringement or a violation of an individual’s right to privacy and/or publicity right.  The Contest is void where prohibited by law.

11.3 Each contestant is responsible for ensuring that he/she has the right to submit the Images that he/she submits to the Contest pursuant to these rules.

11.4 GS/OAS reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest. 

11.5 GS/OAS is not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest, by any technical or human error that may occur in the processing of submissions to the Contest including, but not limited to, typographical errors or misprints, or by Web site users.  GS/OAS assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, any image submissions.  GS/OAS is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines computer equipment, servers, providers, computer on-line systems, software, or failure of email on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any Web site, including but not limited to injuries or damages to contestant’s or to any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating or uploading the Images or information for the Contest.

11.6 Nothing in these rules or relating to the Contest constitutes an express or implied waiver of the privileges and immunities of the OAS or GS/OAS, its personnel and assets, in accordance with the OAS Charter, relevant agreements and pursuant to general principles and practices of international law.

11.7 Any dispute or complaint that may arise from the Contest or the interpretation or application of these rules, and that cannot be settled by direct negotiations between GS/OAS and the contestant, shall be submitted to arbitration pursuant to the Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association or of the Inter-American Commercial Arbitration Commission currently in effect.  The place of arbitration shall be Washington, D.C., USA, and the sole arbitrator may decide the dispute as amiable compositeur or ex aequo et bono.  The arbitrator’s decision shall be final, binding and not subject to appeal.  The law applicable to the arbitral proceedings and to these rules is the law of the District of Columbia, USA.


Submission of an entry to the Contest automatically constitutes the contestant's acceptance of all conditions set forth in these rules. By submitting Images for the Contest, contestant also grants to GS/OAS an unlimited, non-exclusive license to use the submitted Images by publishing it on the OAS Web Sites, publications, exhibitions and any advertisement related to this Contest.  Entries that do not comply with the rules set forth herein will be disqualified. 

1. Family members include spouses, sons and daughters, stepsons and stepdaughters, fathers, mothers, stepfathers and stepmothers, brothers and sisters, half brothers and half sisters, stepbrothers and stepsisters, uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces, first cousins, father in-law and mother in-law, son- in-law and daughter in-law, or brother in-law and sister in-law. Participants must be at least 18 years old.