You’ve probably seen the ubiquitous “one-a-day” photo and video projects. Many of them are portraits documenting how a person’s face has changed over time. Others, like this one I posted last year, offer a video clip from each day of James Bernal’s life to create a portrait of a year. You might recall I played off of this idea with the video I made our Peace Corps experience, “2 years, 4 minutes.” Often, I’ve contemplated taking this on as a photo assignment myself and who knows, maybe I still will…

Here’s a look at three one-a-day projects that I think stand out by turning this meme on its head. The first is by Jonathan Harris, a photographer who turned 30 years old and decided to document his life by taking one image and writing a short story about the image before he headed to bed each night. He called his project, “Today” and his friend, Scott Thrift, made the gorgeous video below about the experience.

I appreciate that the photographer narrates his images not by explaining each one, as he did on his blog as he was shooting, but rather by meditating on the meaning of the entire project and what the process was like for him. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what he said and he definitely inspires me to consider trying my hand at this very project.

Jonathan Harris: Today

These next two videos show how this genre of storytelling has been co-opted but for positive purposes. Save the Children made the following video to raise awareness about the effect of war on the lives of children.

Most Shocking Second a Day Video

This next one is perhaps even more shocking. Watch it first and then read the backstory below.

One photo a day in the worst year of my life.

“One photo a day in the worse year of my life” was created by Saatchi & Saatchi and Fund B92 to shine the spotlight on domestic violence in Serbia. The statistics, which you can read here on Saatchi & Saatchi’s website, paint a bleak picture for women in Serbia.

However, even more shocking are the comments below the video on YouTube, which I suggest you skip. I don’t make it a habit to read comments on sites like YouTube because I like to avoid reading hateful and ignorant bile as much as possible. Maybe someone needs to make a video about online bullying in the comments section of YouTube…hey, that’s a really good idea…

Anyway, although the last two videos are not documentaries but rather fictional reenactments, their messages are important and well conveyed by using the one-a-day format.


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