New York Shots. What a cool idea. The idea is this: A Tumblr user, a girl named Katie O’Beirne, recently started leaving disposable cameras out around New York City. Tied to a park bench, left at the Brooklyn Bridge. This project has been evolving for a while now, especially thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that collects funds in its honor. It’s a beautiful project. It captures people, generally their faces, from all over the world. It began with the people of the world who stumbled across O’Beirne’s cameras in New York City parks. The project has now expanded internationally with photography and people lovers in cities across the globe reaching out, volunteering to rig up disposable cameras in their own city. The photos are captivating to view. O’Beirne’s updates about the project are uplifting. These are the kinds of things I love finding out about.
Disposable cameras have become a very popular way of capturing images in the digital age. They’re cheap, take relatively decent photos, and can be found in just about every discount store the world over. But one organization has taken the disposable camera off the guest tables at every wedding, and sent them out into the world to capture images from around the globe.
The concept behind the Disposable Memory Project is simple. Pass out disposable cameras to travelers, have them take a few photos and then pass the camera along to someone else. Eventually the disposable cameras get returned, at least in theory, and the photos are published online for everyone to share. So far, the project has placed 164 cameras in 42 countries around the world. To date, 42 of those 164 cameras have been found, and 11 have been returned, carrying a record of their journey with them.
The Disposable Memory Project website has a comprehensive list of each of the cameras and the places where they’ve been released into the wild. You can use the page to see if there is one close to where you are, and if you find it, you can claim it, snap a few photos, and pass it along. Eventually, once the memory on the camera is full, you simply contact the good folks at the Disposable Memory Project and they’ll arrange to have the camera picked up, and get the images developed and posted on the web, passing the link along so you can check out your photos.
What an interesting and fun project! There are still quite a few cameras that have been found and are still bouncing around the globe, and dozens more that have yet to be discovered at all. If you want to join the fun, go find a camera that has been released in your area, and if there isn’t one, perhaps you can release a camera of your own.