Friday, June 27, 2008

World Portrait Days: August 1-3, 2008

This is a story with a couple of beginnings, so it's hard to know which beginning to begin with. Over a year ago, I started a project on Flickr to encourage people to collect photos of 6 Million People , one person at a time. This group has been a success, with almost 50,000 photos added from over 6000 members. I knew that we'd eventually have spin-off groups, and the first was Spotlight Seven, which through 17 weeks has attracted a loyal following and has featured some of the best portrait artists on Flickr. Smoothdude has been the driving force behind the group, carefully selecting the portraits each week and conducting insightful interviews with the photographers.


And I knew there would be more spin-offs. But now let's get to the other beginning. Which, in some ways, begins even earlier. Let's go back to January, 2007, when I posted a little self-portrait as a joke. It was nothing more than that, until April of this year when a semi-spontaneous outpouring of support led to a drastic rise in the size of the We Demand Donuts group, followed by Flickr agreeing to our demands and providing free donuts to the denizens of San Francisco. That wasn't enough, and there was a genuine mass-movement organization, whereas people all over the world-- no kidding-- enjoyed donuts alone or with friends and shared the resultant photos on Flickr. If you haven't already, please check out the group. There were meet-ups in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Baltimore, Toronto, Paris, Berlin and Taiwan. Participants from Okinawa to Bahrain and from San Luis Obispo to Orlando enjoyed donuts and shared the evidence. It was a huge success, started by a humble plea. There was news coverage from the San Jose Mercury News, Wired Magazine and Cnet. My friend Kelvin even traveled to San Francisco to claim my donut.

Flickr: We demand donuts
Flickr: We Demand Donuts

But now what? Well, I really want 6 Million People to be a huge success, and I want to have fun with reaching for that goal. World Portrait Days is the answer. It's already begun, as almost 200 have joined the group, and dozens have signed up to take photos on that day across the world, including organized events in more than 10 places already. I know we'll have epic events in Los Angeles, New York, London and Salt Lake City, and I'm hopeful that there will be many more. I hope all of you join the group and take portraits to share on that day. The Day of the Donut was indeed a grand event. We will eventually collect portraits of 6 million people. I think it will be the best of both worlds when we mix the chocolate & peanut butter together. The official blurb is below. Help in any way is appreciated, we are mostly looking for volunteers to organize events right now, along with people who can translate the group description (below and on the group page) into other languages. Thanks all. Good luck & enjoy.

World Portrait Days will take place over the weekend of August 1-3, 2008. On that weekend, either with your Flickr friends, by yourself or with anyone else, go out and take portraits of people. They can be friends or family, of course, but please take many photos of strangers as well and explain a little bit about the project. You might set up a photo booth in the town square, or approach people as you walk the street, or attend a public event and photograph people there. We hope that you will add all of these photos to the World Portrait Days photo pool, and will also add many of them to the 6 Million People group. In that group, we are collecting photos of 6 million different people, one portrait at a time, in order to create a memorial for all Holocaust victims. Please add all your photos to World Portrait Days, and please add 1 portrait of each person you photograph on that day to 6 Million People. Thank you, good luck & have fun!

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