WHAT WOULD YOU THINK if you saw a vacationer’s picture of where you live? Would it represent what you think the city is? Its breadths and narrows, the twists and turns, or would it be the same iconic pictures taken from the same vantage points or the same statues? Worse, would it have people posing with their fingers in peace signs where no local would ever do so?
I have long been interested in seeing how people see their own surroundings. What if everyone went out and took pictures of what they see around them, in their own backyards, and from there build an image of what the world really looks like through the eyes of the people who live there?
An upcoming initiative, to be held on May 15th called aday.org, seeks to do just that. To compile photos from everyone (from cell-phone photographers to professional and art photographers — up to 10 per person) and compile them into a giant project, “creating a unique online experience where photographs will be shared, compared and explored.” The photos will be compiled online, some will be published in a book, and all will be available for everyone’s perusal, and saved for all time.
The project is headed up by the Swedish non-profit foundation Expressions of Humankind, and counts as board members people involved in government, health organizations, as well as photographers.
But it’s not just looking at pictures. There’s an open invitation on the site for you to get involved (and an opt-in for free photo prints and updates and emails). There are three main categories: home, work, and connections. And within each category, there’s a subset of things the founders of aday.org think you should shoot. For example, in “connections” they’re considering generations, community, technology, leisure, identity conflict, and fear, among others.
To participate, go to the website and sign up. You’ll have five days after May 15th to upload your photos (which will never be used to make a profit) and you retain copyrights. I’m going to get out there and shoot, and spend a good long time looking at the images once they’re up.
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Eileen Smith is the editor of Matador Abroad. She's an ex-Brooklynite who's made a life in Santiago, Chile. She's a fluent Spanish speaker who can be found biking, hiking, writing, photographing and/or seeking good coffee and nibbles at most hours of the day. She blogs here.
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