Tuesday, June 30, 2009

6/12/2009, St. George Photo 17

Friday, June 26, 2009

6/12/2009 Photo 13

Monday, June 22, 2009

6/12/2009 Photo 9

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Cameras Are Out!

The cameras are out on the streets. Stay tuned for updates.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What is A Peoples' Picture?

(Photo: Anna Kartashova / The Salt Lake Tribune)

I sat up in my bed and glanced at the alarm clock. The time was 2:14 am. I grabbed my wife's arm and said "I just had an idea. What if you just left cameras around with a note saying something like 'Pick Me Up, take pictures with me' so that random people could take pictures? Then you could post the images online and the people who took the pictures could see their own shots and what other people took pictures of. You could set it up to put a new picture up every day!" My wife blinked at me. "That's a good idea sweetheart, now go to bed."


A Peoples Picture is a project that seeks to give average people a chance to be creative anonymously, to shine is secret.

I distribute disposable cameras to various locations with a message attached that says:


Welcome to A Peoples’ Picture Project. Borrow my camera for a few minutes to capture a picture or two. Be creative, this is your chance! Feel free to photograph whatever you want. This project was started as part of an effort to get people to notice the beauty around them everyday.

Please when you are done return the camera to the exact spot you found it. You can see what others have found eye catching and beautiful, as well as your own photos at www.apeoplespicture.org


Usually, most of the people that see my camera read the note attached with interest, but are too shy to pick it up. The pictures that you see posted here are taken by the bravest of the interested.

So what is the broader purpose? The project has a couple of main goals. First, we want get people excited about being creative. Second, I think that the photos people take anonymously (when they could get away with anything) says something fundamental about them. People generally don't take pictures of the same thing. Rather than shock the stranger who will view them and post them online, they charm him.

I have set the blog up to post a new picture everyday. Please, comment and vote on the pictures you like. The photos with the most votes will be tagged as favorites.

Thanks to Stephen Gelb for the profile pic. He is a fine photographer that I would extend my highest recommendation to.

Note: The banner at the head of this site was created by Madzia of DARE design in london, www.londondare.com, DARE is a great company that I totally recommend for design work. Madzia was super cool to work with.

(C) Images and Text, Matthew Jorgensen (A Peoples' Photographer). The images on this site may be used for non-commercial purposes so long as the source of the photo (www.apeoplespicture.org) is given in the image credits. Email me with any questions at peoplespicture@gmail.com

A Peoples' Picture in the News

Photo: A Peoples' Picture

Published: 22 Apr 2013 11:52 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Apr 2013 11:52 GMT+02:00

An American scientist is trying to stir up creative spontaneity in the eastern German city of Dresden by leaving disposable cameras around for strangers' use, before collecting them and displaying the results online. Jessica Ware reports.

Utah-native Matthew Jorgensen has been running the website “A Peoples' Picture” for a number of years in the United States, leaving disposable cameras with a note taped to them in public places. He decided to bring his project with him when he moved to Dresden, Saxony, last May.
“At first I thought that Germans might not pick up the camera at all,” he told The Local, explaining that he imagined they would be less likely to do something so random. “But I was wrong and they took to it as well as people in the States.”
So far Jorgensen, 28, has dotted four cameras around Dresden, largely in parks. The resulting photos showed, he said, that the Germans were trying to be more seriously creative compared to their US counterparts.
German snappers also tended to take a couple of photos nearby and return the camera, while in the United States, people would take the camera for several hours before returning it.
“This project was started as part of an effort to get people to notice the beauty around them every day,” the note stuck to the camera reads, inviting the finder to pick it up and be creative. Instructions can also be found on the website detailing how people can make their own disposable drop, should they have the urge.
“People clearly like taking photos of the most beautiful things around them, normally their partner, family or friends,” said Jorgensen. “This makes it a rewarding hobby and one which reminds me of the good in people.”

None of the developed films have rendered any weird photos, which initially was a shock to the Humboldt scholarship scientist. “It's a chance for people to take a picture of anything without consequences as it's completely anonymous.”
One of the only hitches so far with the German edition of “A Peoples' Picture” is that two of the cameras disappeared, something that was more unusual in America.
“I don't think people are stealing them though,” said Jorgensen, adding that it was more likely that they were a little confused.
Jorgensen, a nano-scientist at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden hopes, he said, to take on some of the country's bigger cities. “Especially Berlin, it's a really creative place and creates some really interesting photography,” he said.
Until then, he's waiting for an unfinished camera which he has been trying to get Dresden students to use. But putting it out in the morning “accompanied with a note in very basic German” on the university campus before returning in the afternoon to collect it has yet proved unsuccessful.

“I'm not too sure the university students are into it, maybe they're too serious,” he said.

Matt Jorgensen and his photography project,
“A Peoples’ Picture”

Greg Wilcox: City WeeklyPhoto: Stephen Gelb / City Weekly
What if I left disposable cameras around with a note attached telling people to snap a few photos and then bring the camera back? It would be fascinating to see what they take pictures of.

I haven’t gotten the dramatic, expressive or shocking pictures I initially expected. It’s like people are afraid that the person who placed the camera is out there watching them. Rather than being shocked, I am charmed. People take goofy self-portraits, pictures of their kids, nature shots, and (my favorite), shots trying to capture their subject at an odd angle, creating a feeling of, “how on earth was that captured?
Read the rest of the article at http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/article-8489-matt-jorgensen-and-his-photography-project-lda-peoplesrs-picturerd.html


Katie Drake: The Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake City chemist dabbles in art at random

Photo: Anna Kartashova / The Salt Lake Tribune
Matthew Jorgensen is pursuing his doctorate in chemistry, but recently decided to try his hand at sociology.

Jorgensen is conducting a social experiment by leaving disposable cameras around Salt Lake City, with a note asking people to take any photo they want and then leave the camera where they found it.

Jorgensen then posts the pictures to a blog, apeoplespicture.blogspot.com. A new picture is posted each day, and so far no two have been alike.

...Jorgensen's curiosity is completely normal*, said Marcie Goodman, a University of Utah sociologist.
"Most of us enjoy doing some sort of examination of what happens in society," Goodman said. "This is what we've been doing since the beginning of time -- trying to figure out what other people are doing."
Goodman said the project is a great way to gain an insight into others' lives, but that it is more observation than actual social research.
Read the rest of the article here: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_12726043

*Note: I'm normal. I even have a published statement by a Ph.D. sociologist to that effect, I feel as if a huge weight is lifted from my shoulders.


PonchoMeg: The Modern Bohemian
As a Modern Bohemian, I love the concept of A People's Picture, a blog that, as the blogmaster describes, "seeks to give average people a chance to be creative anonymously, to shine in secret. I leave disposable cameras around with a note asking the finder to take a picture..."These pictures then get posted on the blog. It is an exciting project to me. It's creative, simple yet complex at the same time, and deals with human activity and emotion as art. I can't wait to see more.

Best Blog Nomination

apeoplespicture.org has been awarded "best blog" by Poncho Meg the modern bohemian. The award is simply a scheme to generate back links, and is awarded at a whim to 15 people chosen by the awarding blog. However, I like Poncho Meg... and she DID choose this blog out of many, so thanks Meg! You can check her blog out at PonchoMeg: The Modern Bohemian

Participate in a Peoples' Picture Project

YOU can be a Peoples' Photographer! We accept (and encourage) the submission of disposable cameras for inclusion on the site. Thinking of where to leave the camera and what to write on the handwritten attention-grabbing note make a fun activity. The only thing I ask is that the standard taped-on note be used, and that the camera arrive to me undeveloped.

1. You will need: Fuji film quicksnap disposable flash camera, specially formatted Peoples' Picture description printed from here (Word 2003) or here (PDF) (or email me), heavy duty tape, razor blade, and scissors.
2. Cut the description out close to the text, place a thin piece of tape along the top, and align the description so that the left edge is flush with the camera and you can see light from the view finder showing in the blank spot.
3. The thin piece of tape holds the paper in place while you tape it securely. Make sure that the paper doesn't cover the exposure counter.
4. Tape the paper in place letting the tape hang off the left edge by about a quarter of an inch. Cut a slit in the tape at the corners so that you can fold the edges over.
5. Using the razor blade cut a whole in the empty space of the paper for the view finder. Cut any excess tape away from the camera's trigger and film advancement wheel. Use caution when cutting the view finder whole to avoid cutting up the view finder window.

Tips for a Good Camera Drop
1. Location is everything! Seek a place with people sitting around bored such a public park or bus stop. Place the camera out of direct foot traffic, people walking places don't often notice. Avoid places where the camera might get put in the lost and found. Avoid businesses where the owner or an employee might not like having their customers photographed.
2. These cameras suck. They need to be carefully shielded from the elements. Think shade.
3. Leave a handwritten note under or pointing to the camera. This helps catch attention, ensures that the finder knows that the camera definitely isn't lost, and ties the device to a real person who may be back any time to pick it up. I usually say something like:
Pick Me Up! Take pictures with me. I am not lost, I belong here at [drop location] today [date]. A team member will be by later to pick me up. Enjoy.

4. Take a picture of the drop location with the camera before you leave it.

When you have a camera with pictures on it, email me for an address to mail it to. I have a system here, so I will only accept undeveloped disposable cameras. If you like, I'll give you drop credit on the photos as they appear on the site.