Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An Interesting Project

No, this doesn't have anything to do with Geocaching, but it really caught my attention when I heard about it on the season finally of Spark (a CBC Radio program). The lead story on that episode spoke with Chris Higgins on an interesting web site he had discovered while hunting for something interesting to write about. The site contained thousands of scans from Polaroid photos, each photo seemingly documenting a single day. The site had been a work-in-progress at the time, but through some investigation he discovered it was Jamie Livingston's "Polaroid a Day" project being scanned and posted by his friends Hugh Crawford and Betsy Reid. The two friends took on the project of scanning and posting the 6,697 of the collection following his death in 1997.
Chris Higgins had written about the project on the mental_floss blog and the sad story it contains of a boy accepted to college, through some successes in film and music production, ending up in the hospital in mid-1997 with cancer, then a final photo the day before his death. The feature on Spark included a letter he had written to Polaroid and accounts from the friends describing the project. The rule was simply that there was a single photo taken each day, but no retakes. Each photo represented that day and could bring back his memories of that event or full day. The project ends up creating a stunning and moving view of one life, and the lives of those around him.

This reminds me of many other similar projects (i.e. 12 of 12), but this is unique. Aside from the fact that it was shot on the same camera through, you see Jamie Livingston's talent and skill to capture a moment, feeling, or event in a single shot develop as the project progresses. Most compelling though was that he didn't abandon the project when things weren't going well. He left behind an interesting and personal view of his life as only he could tell.

I'm curious though if anyone else has similar projects they've attempted. I had thought about doing a project like this back in the late '90s when I began using a digital camera on a regular basis. I simply wasn't interested enough in pursuing such a long term project that would take as much time as shooting, downloading, and posting a single photo each day. (I have a hard time getting out to shoot period these days.) Mr. Livingston found a simple, easy process (snap a photo, note the date, put it away) that worked for him. Kudos to him, and all those who manage to take on these long term, very personal projects. You're an inspiration, and perhaps someday I'll follow your lead in my own way.

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