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!

Monday, June 23, 2008

sweet distin featured in Spotlight 7


This week in Spotlight 7, we are featuring an exceptional photographer from England, sweet distin. Sweet distin shoots both film and digital, but is more often draw to film due its warmth, using everything from a Hasselblad to toy cameras like the Diana and Holga. Shooting mostly friends and family, sweet distin is lucky to have so many willing models. Of course, when someone takes portraits this great, it's a surprise that people aren't lining up to have their photo taken. Here's a short excerpt form this week's interview:

4) You use light really well with your portraits, and seem to only use natural light. What are some tips you suggest to people regarding lighting people?
Ooh, difficult one. I don't know that I have any, I just look for a good light, mine is always from the window, no lamps. I think it's just paying attention, the light is the most important thing so you just look for it....I like south facing rooms best but you get consistency with north facing..........sorry, can't really help with this's like anything, you learn what works as you go, I can't really articulate it but I could walk through your house and tell you the best room. :)

There's plenty more gold in the interview, and all 10 photos are exceptional. Please read the interview, and send your best wishes to sweet, sweet distin.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tiffany Evans

Tiffany Evans, originally uploaded by ShhPeKo.

Another outstanding portrait by ShhPeKo of someone I've never heard of. Very beautiful & well shot. Good luck!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan, originally uploaded by Jill. Coleman.

Very nice.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Doug in his element

Doug in his element, originally uploaded by jakerome.

This is SurfDaddy, a Flickr regular who enjoyed the DMU Vegas meet-up immensely. Doug is the brother of Spotlight 7 alum Ryan Brenizer.

Alien eyes

Alien eyes, originally uploaded by i5prof.

Blue & blues

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bukutgirl featured for week 17 in Spotlight 7

Yet another Liz falling from grace

Week 17 of Spotlight Seven features Bukutgirl, whose great portraits are accompanied by an even more amazing life story. Originally from Oregon but now living in Baltimore, Bukutgirl is a former Peace Corps volunteer who is now pursuing a double masters degree and planning to pursue her Ph.D. Here's an excerpt from this week's interview.

3) Your photos have a very gritty real quality about them. Do you attribute that to your style, surroundings, your emotion going into a photo?

I moved to Baltimore shortly before getting on flickr and starting to shoot again – besides the very few shots I actually took while in peace corps (maybe 4 rolls in 2 years) I really hadn’t picked up a camera in about 10 years. I was very much alone in this city when I first got here and surprised by the intensity of this place. Baltimore is guts – so many people here don’t even know if they are going to eat that night – or if they’ll have a home next month – it gives the city – and even those of us who are a little more financially secure – a rawness – by living around it all the time. Being a nurse at a local Baltimore hospital influenced this as well – many of my patients were end stage AIDS patients – and it made me so angry at the world – that is a fate no one deserves. I also have had quite a number of major physical problems in the last three years that have at times brought me really down and have made it hard to want to continue to be. A lot of my self portrait work has been about getting some of that out and the war you get into with your own body when it is a constant source of pain. So I guess it’s a bit of everything – the urgent surroundings – the at times desperate nature of life in Baltimore – and my own physical / emotional pain – that pushes me towards gritty.

Be sure to read the whole interview and view all 10 photos selected for this week's exhibited.

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