Rick Smolan

mcm_6416Rick Smolan is an American photographer probably most famous for his Day in the Life series.

Rick Smolan opens by thanking everyone who helped contribute to his project, and for being here at the EG conference.

We all live in really  tough time right now. The world has become a scary and unsettling place.
We shouldn’t leave the opportunity of any crisis unmet.
This is the time to look at things with a fresh start.
This is the time in American history to change the way that the world lives.

At times like this, when you’re concerned about the world, it’s when you look at the friends and family around you.
My daughter Phoebe went to her first sleepover last spring, she was very nervous about it.
The next morning we picked her up and walked home hand in hand.

We asked Pheobe: what’s the one thing you’ll remember for the rest of your life about this sleepover?

Dad, she whispers, did you know other people’s lives are different then ours?

It was the first time she’d realized that what you do in your house, the rituals, the ceremonies are different.
Pheobe asks: Dad, do you remember your first sleepover?
I respond: funny – I just had a flashback. I was young and I was at my first sleepover and the family I was with, they held hands and prayed before dinner.

Pheobe: Dad, you and mom should do a book on how different people have different lives at home.

So we decided to do it and called it America at Home. We hired a 100 of the best photographers of America and spread them throughout the country. We did our best to get the photographers out in various locations, to make sure we captured as much as we could.

There are 4 things that are meaningful to me about this project:

1 – the time we live in
2 – the 100 photographers
3 – we invited the public to participate as well, as photographers
4 – letting the public customize the covers of their book – professionally produced content skinned by the public.

Amy Tan, David Pogue, wrote personal essays on the concept of home. thank you.

Our projects have been featured by Time and Newsweek.
Custom covers was the first time in history in publishing that the public was able to customize, personalize their books.
“America 24/7” – featured on Oprah

We also created UK at Home

From BBC clip:

Find yourself a camera and you might become part of history.

Capturing images for posterity. Alongside leading photographers, people will be encouraged to take photos that showcase snapshots of contemporary British life.

Imagine you found a book in your attic from 100 years ago, telling what everyday life was life. not told by media but by everyday people.

Slideshow of book covers:

  • people performing in second life at home, making a living.
  • homeschooling.
  • a picture of a man in a cluttered home, looking for his wife’s ashes among the mess.
  • near Rigly Field, people build bleechers on their roof.
  • the morning routine of shaving.
  • a 10,000 playhouse with electricity and hardwood floors.
  • a woman who lives in an 84 square foot cottage on wheels.

The book is not a hallmark card. it’s showing real people, with real problems.
The changing face of american society is really fascinating.
None of the people in this book are strangers.

Image: a vietnam veteran that takes apart his makeshift home every night and remakes it every day, per the city of NY.


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  1. […] Cohen has written or co-authored more than seventy large-format illustrated books — many with Rick Smolan — that have collectively sold more than 5 million copies. Most were in the hugely popular Day […]

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