May 15 could be your birthday. It could be the day you finally finish law school. It could be the first time you ever try pistachio gelato, or the day you adopt a puppy. It could be an utterly mundane, normal day.
Whatever happens on May 15, 2012, the photographers behind ADAY.org want you to photograph it and upload it to their site, which aims to become the world’s largest photo project. Soon thereafter, you’ll be able to see how your little slice of life fits in with the images the rest of the world has captured.
ADAY was founded by Expressions of Humankind, a Swedish nonprofit that supports scientific research about photography and humanity. The concept for the project came from Ayperi Karabuda Ecer, a former editor-in-chief at Magnum Photos.
“ADAY uses the power of still photography and its very particular relation to memory,” said Ecer in an e-mail. Participants in more than 190 countries have signed up so far.
While there have been other, similarly crowdsourced projects that aimed to capture a picture of life across the globe — including the film “Life in a Day,” comprised of YouTube videos — Ecer says that this one will be different because of the stringent categorization that will allow researchers to catalogue and examine the photos.
ADay: Submit your life in a photo Click to view more ADay photos from readers and share your own snapshots of life.
“We want to send a message to the future by offering this giant, structured puzzle for generations to come,” said Ecer. “They will be able to have a looking-glass perspective on our lives, and our scientific council estimates that this will be of exceptional value.”
When users upload their images, they’ll have to provide keywords and categories that will allow their images to be grouped thematically with others. Within the three main categories — home, work and connections — some of the subcategories are specific (“My Wall,” a look at what’s hanging on the walls of your home) or up for interpretation (a subcategory for “Care & fear”). They’ll be woven together in an interactive online experience for anyone to view, and select images will be chosen for art exhibitions and publication in a book about the project.
The perfect ADAY photo, says Ecer, is “a photo which conveys the spirit of our times through details of daily life.” Nothing is too mundane for ADAY’s future researchers (the nature of their research is still yet to be determined, says Ecer). So even if you think your morning Metro ride is boring, the site tasks you with finding beauty and information in that journey — and that might help you look at it through fresh eyes from that day on.
Washington Post photographers plan to participate in ADAY.
“It’s going to be like a time capsule of a day in the life of the world. I think that it is completely in keeping with our mission as visual journalists that we would contribute to this for the greater good of the project, which is primarily for educational purposes,” said MaryAnne Golon, the Post’s director of photography. Our photographers will be submitting their best shots from their assignments that day, said Golon. “What they’re always asked for is to keep their eyes open.”
Check back here on May 15 for photos of the day in Washington — and also for a chance to submit your own snapshots to our gallery. Later this month, when the database is opened up to the public, we’ll share a gallery of some of the best snapshots from around the world.
How to participate:
1. Sign up on ADAY.org.
2. Snap photos of your daily life on May 15.
3. Upload as many as 10 images taken on that day to the ADAY site, before May 22.
4. Tag them within their categories and subcategories, and include information about yourself, and where and why you took the photo.
5. Visit ADAY.org to see other photos from photographers around the world — including celebrities like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and singer Robyn.