Last Saturday, 2,030 registered photographers from 101 countries participated in the fourth annual 24 Hour Project, a worldwide interactive, online event.
Photographers -- including one of the project's co-creators, Sam Smotherman, a frequent Southern California Moments contributor -- roamed the streets on March 21 and published a photo every hour for 24 hours. They posted their snapshots in real time to
The project's theme has remained the same since its conception in 2011: to capture "the essence and complexity of the human condition." So, every hour, images filtered in from 650 cities around the world, including pictures documenting Albuquerque nightlife and the early morning hustle of a Hong Kong fish market as well as a father and daughter sitting together as they sell flowers on a Tehran street.
"We wanted to see the differences throughout the world, but also the blending and mixing of ethnicities within a single city," said Smotherman, a developmental disabilities social worker. "Street photography highlights [human nature] by capturing the unplanned but not unnoticed."
A few years ago, Smotherman shared his rough idea with fellow co-creator Renzo Grande, a Web projects manager whose photography Smotherman admired and followed on Instagram. The two began collaborating.
In the event's first year, the duo invited 65 mobile photographers whose work they were familiar with to compare and contrast the West and East coasts of the United States. It received good feedback, evolved accordingly, and since then has been open to the public.
As time-consuming as orchestrating the project was, the co-creators say it doesn't quite compare to participating in it.
Below, Smotherman talks to the Los Angeles Times about his grueling but rewarding experience last weekend in the City of Angels and dishes about next year's project.
Tell us a bit about your personal game plan for photographing a city on foot for an entire day.
The game plan was to drive, at least between shooting locations. My personal plan was late in the making and changed halfway through. I had some folks who were supposed to come with me, but life got in the way, so I had to go solo. This year, I stopped a lot more. Once I got the shot I liked, I would go and rest. In the years prior, I would keep pushing for that next photo.
What about Los Angeles lends itself to shooting for 24 hours? What about the city does not?
Los Angeles' size really allows you to shoot anything you want. Its problem is also its size. The things you want to shoot may not be reachable on 24 one-hour deadlines. I found this out the first year I did the project when I went from downtown Los Angeles to Hollywood, to Manhattan Beach, to South L.A., back to downtown, and then the Eastside. Way too much driving. This year I was able to keep driving to a minimum and therefore keep my sanity.
What are the 'kinds of moments' you capture shooting all 24 hours in the day versus just during conventional hours?