News Flash


Posted on: May 16, 2018

New Photography Exhibit at Bellingham International Airport

A canopy of Evergreens, a babbling brook, an orange and purple sunset – these are just a few of the photographic images greeting Bellingham travelers at the TSA-lineup area in Bellingham International Airport starting May 17, the International Day of Light (IDL). The collection is sponsored by local nonprofit SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, which has called Bellingham home since 1977.

The images are the work of SPIE staff members as well as Ian Bell’s 2015 winning photo from SPIE’s annual IDL photo competition. Each image captures different aspects of the beauty of the Pacific Northwest region, and is accompanied by captions describing its representation of the science of light.

The display also honors and marks the retirement of SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs, who has held that position since 1999. Earlier this month, the incoming CEO, Kent Rochford stepped into this position.

“We would like to thank SPIE for this generous art donation,” said Port Commission President Ken Bell. ““The display will improve the aesthetics of our airport’s security checkpoint. It will showcase the natural beauty of Whatcom County while educating travelers on how light interplays with the natural environment.”

As part of its efforts to raise awareness around the International Day of Light locally as well as globally, SPIE has produced free digital resources ( for those wishing to participate during this UNESCO-established effort. In the lead-up to this year’s IDL, SPIE recently sponsored educational Prismatic Magic laser shows at four regional schools. On May 16, SPIE will also launch its 2018 International Day of Light photo competition ( which is open to people of all ages, both amateur and professional. Discover ten ways to celebrate the IDL (, and learn more about photonics at the SPIE blog (

“As early supporters of both the International Year of Light in 2015 and the now-annual International Day of Light on May 16, SPIE is proud to continue its support during this year’s event,” said new SPIE CEO Kent Rochford. “A critical part of the SPIE mission is to advance the science of light and light-based technologies, and the International Day of Light is an engaging and inclusive way of doing so with many different audiences. It is also appropriate that on May 16, we honor outgoing SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs in his and SPIE’s hometown of Bellingham with this display featuring light-focused, Pacific Northwest images. During his 18 years leading SPIE, Eugene has been a strong proponent for the betterment of life through optics and photonics, always reminding us of the many ways in which light improves and enhances our lives on a daily basis.”

The International Day of Light ( is a global initiative that provides an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of light and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education, and sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications, and energy. The broad theme of light will allow many sectors of society worldwide to participate in activities that demonstrates how science, technology, art and culture can help achieve the goals of UNESCO – education, equality, and peace.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2017, SPIE provided more than $4 million in support of education and outreach programs.

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