A mom in Iran gets her daughters ice cream
The theory is that the Internet connects the world.
Sometimes it does, but mostly it’s just more of the same: baby pictures, cute kittens, last night’s party, pop star gossip etc. And all that’s fine.
But how about using a little bit of bandwidth to see the world?
Specifically the beauty and intrigue – and normality – of places you hear about in the news, but may never have visited and may never visit.
A simple and powerful idea
I became curious about the southern Philippines where a colleague of mine lives so I asked him to take a daily picture of life there and post it to Twitter.
I wanted to see his home town through his eyes.
Now, instead of having a news media-fed “theory” about where he lives, I can see a new picture of the reality of the place everyday.
Shortly after this, I discovered someone was doing the same thing for Iraq – a place endlessly in the news that in fact we never see.
Then I discovered one for Iran. Ditto. And Africa. Ditto. And many other places.
We don’t need the news media or the national propaganda office (or National Geographic) to show us what the world looks like: We can show it too each other directly.
Buze shows his skateboard moves in Ethiopia
Obviously, a next step is to take this to Instagram as some have already done.
Another next step is to protect some of the good names that have not yet been taken and to liberate some of the names that have been taken but are not being used.
Here’s our (very) short wishlist of names to free up:
Now, here’s our list of names we’ve registered to protect them for this use.
We’re not squatting on them and they are not for sale.
If you’re serious about doing something great with them and can demonstrate that you have the capacity to do so, just write me at: everyday AT kenmccarthy DOT COM.
This list is not comprehensive. It’s just a short list of the places we find interesting and want to see more of.
It’s very possible that a location you’re interested in covering is available. If so, go for it and let us know so we can follow it.
Flower shop in Kurdistan
How to make an Everyday Channel
I think the first principle is to show everyday life and avoid the kind of sensational crap that the news media rams down our throats.
There are already plenty of pictures of poverty, violence and despair – especially from places the news media tells us are all about poverty, violence and despair.
There are also lots of glamor shots of various places available from travel magazines and web sites. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what’s missing is an answer to the simple question:
“What does normal everyday life look like for the people who live in (fill in the blank.)”
The other important principle is to figure out how to involve lots of people in the project.
You can do this by discovering and following people who are already posting great pictures about the region you’re covering and then retweeting their photos. Follow them too.
If you have the opportunity to communicate with them, ask them to hashtag their work #everyday(fill in the blank) so it’s easy for you to follow many local photographers at the same time.
You can get good ideas about how to manage a channel by following some of the channels that are doing a good job following these principles.
Kids in Manila
The final result
The final result of this is that there would be a channel for every place on earth. (We’re starting on the national and big city level, but there’s no reason it couldn’t drill down to the small town and village level.)
When people hear about a place in the news or think about traveling there instead of depending on the always-unreliable news media or well intentioned but sometimes inaccurate travel guides, they can see the place through the eyes of the people who live there everyday.
Of course, these channels could evolve into showcases for photography, the art – why not? – but the essential thing, at least as far as this project is concerned, is to show everyday life and to give everyone with a camera a chance to participate and show their vision of things.