How often do you sit in your room, look around and think “I’m a cog in the system which makes the world turn”.
You’d be forgiven for saying “never” and I expect that in between drinking, revising and eating (probably in that order), philosophical realisation is not high on your list of priorities.
It is, however, something which aday.org aims to achieve, through the ambitious, if not a bit mad, idea of encouraging as many people as possible worldwide to capture a simple snapshot of their surroundings – whether this be work, school, home or simply ‘out and about’ – and upload them onto their website.
Yet somewhat ironically, the real substance of this idea stems from its limitation. The 15th of May is the single day in which this action can be taken, the idea presumably being that an accurate and spontaneous portrait of global cultures will be uploaded at the same time, in the same place, for a worldwide audience.
Whilst this style of avocation is gathering momentum as an ever-popular way to document the everyday lives of ordinary people, this particular project – founded by Swedish not-for-profit organisation ‘Expressions of Humankind’- appears to have slightly more of an emphasis on substance over style.
“Professionals, amateurs, school children, farmers, social media fans, astronauts, office workers and you. Cell phone camera, Hasselblad, home made or borrowed. We are looking for the perspectives of everyone who enjoys photography!”
This democratic outlook on media capture is not completely unprecedented however. Films such as ‘Life In A Day’ were some of the first major cinematic milestones in capturing the mundane, the exhilarating and the emotional feats of day-to-day life.
From London to Lima, Paris to Phnom-Penh, the makers of ‘Life In A Day’ used 80,000 YouTube clips to create a montage of occurrences on the 24th July 2010. The idea of a reactionary capture was fresh; but what was viewed by many as corporate branding placed on the film may have damaged the genial message underlying the creation and led the viewer to wonder…well, what was really the point?
‘Picture Today, Inspire Tomorrow’ is much more (as its name might suggest) future-focused, capturing these images to aid ‘research and inspiration’ in years to come whilst aiming to emphasise that the life of every individual is part of the ‘bigger picture’ in what makes the world go round (metaphorically speaking – as a geography student, I am well aware that unfortunately the actual science behind the rotation of Earth is not nearly as easy to revise).
There is also a keen focus on the fact that ANYONE, no matter their age/gender/class/race/religion/nationality, can join in. With the backing of such influential figures as Desmond Tutu, Sir Richard Branson and somewhat randomly Robyn (although I suppose she is Swedish), ‘Picture Today, Inspire Tomorrow’ tries to bring together the global community whilst maintaining that the daily snapshot of each individual is just as important as the next.
Having studied globalisation to death ever since my GCSEs, this type of personal link between different countries and cultures is something I feel should be encouraged and conducted in a world of ever-increasing dispassion; communication links may be growing, but global awareness is not.
I admire any organisation, individual or charity aspiring to bring people together, regardless of physical or cultural boundaries which may otherwise prevent such interaction; its intention as a use for future development also increases the validity of the project.
Sustainable, fun and ultimately engaging, I suggest everyone grabs the nearest camera/mobile phone/device capable of photography on the 15th of May, to share their little section of the world with the other 6 billion of us.
For more information, visit www.aday.org