Get the Picture

When I was eight, I buried a time capsule in my backyard with all the things that I regarded as most important at that point in my life. The list included a goldenrod fluttery pony, mom’s recipe for peanut butter balls, and a VHS of Flight of the Navigator, among other things. Perhaps not the legacy that some might imagine, but certainly a fair rendering of my eight-year-old self.

NBCUniversal invited us all to share some sense of ourselves in the same way as part of the Lifecatching Project. For one week (last week), anyone was able to submit up to three photos of themselves via email to [email protected] doing something in their everyday lives. Trends Research at NBCUniversal specified that these pictures should “portray the ordinary, rather than the extraordinary.” The project is, in fact, part time capsule, part social experiment. Jake Katz, Director of Trends Research, believes that it will illustrate how the current habit of sharing each and every moment of our lives actually prevents us from living those moments. Additionally, every photo submitted represents a $1 contribution to New York’s ConArtist collective on the part of NBCUniversal.

It’s not the first time that Flickr has been used to catalogue history. In fact, many of the photos on the Flickr commons are historical photos without copyright information. Archival institutes like the Library of Congress, the Getty Research Institute, etc. upload the photos and any data they have about the picture and open it up to comments from users who might have some information about the origins of the photo or its subjects. Sometimes it’s the crowd who names the

Of course, I also dug my time capsule up after less than a week had elapsed. Hardly enough time to offer any real perspective or insight. The results of NBCUniversal’s flickr time capsule will not truly reveal themselves for some time.

What everyday images characterize your life? How else has the crowd contributed to the life of photographers and artists?

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