jeff kelley | northampton, ma, USA
I think the last time I tried to stay up for 24 hours straight was circa 1993, during my freshman year of college. The results then were less than stellar, I ended up falling asleep in my dorm room and missing my Italian midterm. Thankfully, this time, I did a little better. I started out with a 1.5 hour nap at 10:30pm and then it was off to Northampton, Massachusetts to meet up with my friend.
Our biggest hurdle was not the struggle to stay awake, but rather, one we were aware of beforehand: finding opportunities to shoot in a small town. Armed with this knowledge, I created a Google doc and tried to make a note of places that would be open, or have good light at various hours of the day. Aside from having a goal of successfully completing the project, I set a few other personal goals as well. The first was simple: to take better pictures than I had in years past.
My other two goals related to the types of pictures I wanted to try and take. I have never successfully done a “street portrait”- One in which you ask a stranger for their picture. @365ken has been a role model for this kind of photo. The other style of shot is a bit harder to describe. It involves finding creative juxtapositions or situations and catching them on film. For this type of shot, I was most influenced by @powercorruptionandlikes.
All in all, I was happy with how everything went. I pushed my photography a little further, didn’t fall asleep on the job, and had a good time. Will I do it again next year? Well as my Italian professor taught me to say, “vedremo” (“we shall see“). At least I’m assuming that’s what she taught me. I can’t actually remember any Italian whatsoever.
giulia macario | melbourne, australia
24 hours of continuous photography with no sleep whatsoever, who would sign up for that? Ahem. me. Three times. What on earth was i thinking….
Like other years I left it up until the day of the event, and a few hours before, to really make up my mind on whether I was participating or not. That being said, I always seemed to get pulled in by the lure of taking part in such a fantastic worldwide event and being part of something bigger than myself. This year was no exception, and after being inspired by many talented photographer friends from all over the world in years passed, I again took part.
‘Ghosts of Piers Past’
So why do it? I guess for me after nearly 8 months of not shooting anything, this was a way to kick my butt into photography gear again. They say practice, practice, practice… is the best way. And for me, not a ‘seasoned’ street shooter – it’s definitely a challenge. I do not plan my shots or where i’ll be hour by hour, I believe theres a magic to letting moments just happen, and if they dont, well, I just move on. I wasn’t too concerned with fitting the mold of what was expected as a street shooter for my hourly posts, or sticking to a style, for me it was more about capturing a feeling using my way of seeing, whether it simply be a blur of colour, a fractured slow shutter experiment or a rush of red going by.
‘Rush by Red’
valeria cammareri | Milano, Italy
The days before March 19 I had done a list of places and locations potentially interesting in my city, and done kinds of photographic rehearsals in different moments of the day to check what I would have found in terms of situations and light. And I had more or less planned the 24 Hours itinerary to optimize travelling time both by transports and on foot. I generally edit my images in black and white: interminable edits with frequent rethinks. To simplify this aspect I decided to shoot only with my iPhone 6s, using a default Hipsta bw combo (John S lens+ AO BW film+ Standard flash), limiting the manual edit just to a few steps.
Although it was my first 24 hour project, I wasn’t particularly anxious about the unavoidable tiredness due to sleep deprivation, but rather about the need to continuously focus on people as subjects. Most of my shots are usually taken in the street and people are always present as the main subject, but I’m not confident with candid portraits and didn’t feel at ease with the idea of improvising a new style. So the most critical aspect to me was the idea to keep on documenting humanity in my own way. But after the first image of this photographic marathon, taken after some hesitation and a tension which was for me unusual, I felt it would be possible. And started to relax about the “style” issue.
‘The Common Reader ‘
The night was supposed to be the most difficult part of this marathon in terms of available subjects . That’s why I had planned, hour by hour, an itinerary . But I didn’t allow for the unexpected. Between 1 and 2 AM I had decided on a shot outside the emergency room of one of the major hospitals in town. I had imagined traffic due to ambulances and people going in and out. So you can imagine my total surprise when I didn’t find at all what I was ready to take a shot of. One of the most quiet and sane nights in town. No ambulances, no people in need of a visit. Nothing. At last I took a shot of a biker who turned out to be a nocturnal worker at the hospital. A shot apparently taken in the middle of nowhere.
This wasn’t the only unexpected situation I had to face during the marathon. For instance, I found no living soul in the 24 hour supermarket, and a military parade in the most famous square of the city, piazza Duomo, right where I had planned to shoot people idly sitting on the churchyard. There were no art watchers at the photo exhibition, and no street carts when I would have needed them. Many shots couldn’t be posted because they were taken too early or too late. But I think this need for improvisation in a bunch of minutes, after so much planning, was the cool part of the story and what still makes me satisfied with my performance. A new chapter next year, no doubt about that. So rather than echoing Jeff saying “We Shall See,” I am for ” You Will See”.
‘Make a Wish’
If you’d like to learn more about the 24 Hour Project, visit their website: 24hourproject.org