When Thomas Stirling decided to take a shot at experimental photography by flying a model helicopter up and down the stairs of his Salem home, he had no idea his photograph would end up inspiring a film by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.
It was his love for photography that prompted Stirling, 33, to create the photo above earlier this year using a tripod, a slow-shutter camera, a model helicopter with an attached light and a computer needed to layer several photos on top of each other.
But when he stumbled upon a banner ad for the Canon Long Live Imagination Contest while perusing Youtube in July, he knew he had a shot at the big prize - having his photo inspire a celebrity-directed film.
In September, he learned he was a finalist. Earlier this week, he learned that his photograph would be among the 10 images that will inspire a film by Stone.
And while winning the contest also landed him $500 toward Canon photography equipment and two tickets to the project imagination film festival in New York City, Stirling said the real prize will be seeing his photo inspire a work of art on the big screen.
Other celebrity directors in the contest include Eva Longoria, Jamie Foxx, Georgina Chapman and James Murphy.
In addition to the photo's amazing light effects, Stirling said his work as a web designer for Kaspersky Lab in Woburn helped him harness social media and friends on the internet to get people to vote for his photo.
Stirling, who originally hails from Scotland, said his winning photograph, entitled "Stairwell Entity" was inspired by a scene from the horror movie Poltergeist and from his time spent living in Salem.
"The movie was part of it, but I also thought a lot about Salem, and with all of the witchcraft and the people you see in the streets, being from Scotland, it all seems kind of crazy," Stirling said.
Check back with Salem Patch for updates on this story - and for a look at the movie that is expected to be created by Stone sometime in the spring.