A Moment in Time
May 11, 2010 6:46 AM   Subscribe

A Moment in Time: On April 8, the New York Times Lens photography blog asked their readers and students to take a photo at a particular date and time: Sunday, May 2, at approximately 15:00 (U.T.C./G.M.T.), then submit it for an upcoming interactive online gallery. 13,000 images were submitted, 10,000 have now been posted online.

Not every submitted image was taken on Earth:
On Mars, at 15:00 local true solar time on May 2, a solitary rover gazed southward across her own dusty deck and snapped three photos, actually three sets of three photos, which were combined to make this view. As the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shot these images of Meridiani planum, the same Sun that dictates the rhythms of our human lives was sinking toward the rover's western horizon, casting a lengthening shadow toward the east from the upright gnomon on the little sundial on the rover's rear deck. That sundial is engraved with the words "Two Worlds, One Sun" to mark the unity of Earth and Mars as part of the same solar system.
While sorting, the Times chose a few to spotlight some of their initial submissions in separate blog entries:

* From Many Instants, A Moment
* A few more moments, please.
...and ask for
* "Patience".

By contrast, their previous mass-user-submission project, Documenting the Decade" (recollections and photos from the previous decade) drew only 2,769 submissions.

Launched in May 2009, Lens (nytimes.com/lens / Facebook / Twitter / Previously on MeFi) was originally conceived as a showcase and community for New York Times photographers, but it was almost immediately expanded to include others, including photos published by professional and amateurs in a variety of other media. Here are all of the blog's posts from 2009.

Some other, notable Lens entries:
* Pockets and Purses Give Up Their Secrets
* Showcase: The Best in The World
* Showcase: Milton Ragovin
* Showcase: Asian Crossroads in Africa
* Behind the Scenes: To Publish or Not?
* Behind the Scenes: Man in the Pink Boxers
* Behind the Scenes: Picturing Fetal Remains (Some may find the content at this link disturbing)
* On Assignment: Into the Maw at Marja
* On Assignment: Prayers in the Dark
* Essay: How Not to Depict a War

...and of course, content from the Lens has been the subject of several past MeFi posts.

However, the Lens is not the only example of a news organization posting the work of photojournalists online. Here are some additional Media Photo Blogs: (Most of these sites require Flash and/or Quicktime)

The links that follow and many others are often highlighted at Photojournalismlinks.com. Nearly every one has its own unique presentation style.

* Associated Press: Daily Gallery
* Austin American Statesman: Collective Vision
* BBC News: In Pictures
* Boston Globe's Big Picture blog.
* Denver Post: Captured
* Getty Images: Reportage
* Guardian: Eyewitness
* Los Angeles Times: Photography
* Media Storm (photojournalism, but not associated with a single media outlet)
* National Geographic: Photography
* National Press Photographers Association's Visual Student Blog
* The New Yorker: Photo Booth (pictures, and articles explaining why and how they were chosen for inclusion.)
* NPR: The Picture Show
* Reuters: Photographers. The blog asks: "What Makes a Great Picture?"
* Sacramento Bee: The Frame
* San Jose Mercury News Photo Blog
* St. Petersburg Times: All Eyes
* Telegraph: Art and Documentary Photography
* Time Magazine: Photo Gallery and White House Photo Blog
* Wall Street Journal Blogs: Photo Journal
* Washington Post: Camera Works
posted by zarq (24 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
I just want to take a moment to thank infinitefloatingbrains for kindly allowing me to turn this into a post. I deeply appreciate it! Thank you!
posted by zarq at 6:49 AM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Good lordy mercy, zarq! This is a humdinger, here!

And yeah, I had seen infinitefloatingbrains post here a few minutes ago, then it was gone, then yours appeared, zarq. That is indeed mighty fine and generous behavior there, infinitefloatingbrains. May your brains float infinitely.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:53 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Eat your heart out, John Dos Passos.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:02 AM on May 11, 2010

What an amazing idea and project! What a clunky and horrible interface!

I'm really enjoying going through the photos, but I dread clicking that "Return to the Globe" button.
posted by 256 at 7:05 AM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

I was going to make some quip about the 3,000 images they haven't posted being the most (ahem) interesting ones, but then I read the reasons on the site and the reality is much duller than my imagination would have it be.

Now to browse the images that are there...
posted by Life at Boulton Wynfevers at 7:08 AM on May 11, 2010

Make no plans for the rest of the day.

Indeed! Thank you, zarq and infinitefloatingbrains!
posted by blucevalo at 7:09 AM on May 11, 2010

The other pics are good. But, man, when ever I see images/stories from the Mars rovers I always get choked up. Those awesome little robots.

This doesn't help either
posted by ShawnString at 7:17 AM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Is this where I knock either Apple for their stance on Flash and/or the Lens blog for using it? This would be the perfect way to kill the next 25 minutes, but instead I am commenting here like a schnook....
posted by nevercalm at 7:18 AM on May 11, 2010

ShawnString, Even sadder... I can't find the Mars Rover photos in the gallery. Was hoping they'd include them.
posted by zarq at 7:32 AM on May 11, 2010

When I saw your comment all I could do was laugh, it was amazing.

While the NYT slide show loads, they suggest:

Make no plans for the rest of the day.

You should have put a warning on the end of your post:

Make no plans for the next few weeks.

Bravo. It's an incredible resource. Now I need to go add all those feeds my Google Reader.

And thank you Jessamyn for taking down my post even though it is not normally how things work around here.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 8:15 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Copied (and embellished) from the now-disgraced earlier thread:
I'd read about this about ten minutes before zero hour and just had enough time to get dressed (it was still Sunday morning for me), go out and grab a picture of the first view that caught my fancy. I'm quite surprised how few there are from my town; so far I'm representin the whole north end, woo hoo.
I'm also surprised how clunky the whole things is - those stacks are mad. Since we'd had to pinpoint w/ Googlemaps where the pic was taken I figured it'd be a zoomable Google maps mashup - privacy issues for all the people who'd taken pictures of their toes in bed maybe?
Of the few I've had a chance to go through so far I really like the South African set. A nice slice of autumnal life, but none of 'long shadows on a rugby pitch/bowling green' I'd been expecting.
posted by Flashman at 8:21 AM on May 11, 2010

I just saw a photo from Wayne, PA of two men smiling and sitting on a patio with their Belgian malinois. "This is our family whether the Federal Government will acknowledge us or not. Love doesn't need laws." I think I'll go off and cry now.
posted by blucevalo at 8:24 AM on May 11, 2010

I managed to get in a photo as well. I can't seem to find it in the ones made available today. I also wish that the format was less clunky, but after spending a half hour or more going through the photos, I'm willing to at least partially forgive.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:10 AM on May 11, 2010

This doesn't help either

If you like being sad about abandoned robots, I highly recommend Robot Dreams.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:24 AM on May 11, 2010

I'd read about this about ten minutes before zero hour and just had enough time to get dressed (it was still Sunday morning for me), go out and grab a picture of the first view that caught my fancy.

This was pretty much me, too. I'd read about it a month ago and completely forgot. Had I put more thought into it I would have gone for a completely different picture, so I settled for what time and place allowed.

I haven't looked at anywhere near all of them. I was suspicious of a dance recital being in progress at 10:00 am in Missouri on a Sunday. Unless it was some church event, I'd have to call foul on that one being taken that May 2nd morning.

It was definitely interesting to see what photos appeared to be spur of the moment and what had appeared to be planned. As well the subjects of the photographs, where some set out to capture a slice of every day, while others appeared just to be a shot of a loved one smiling for the camera.

And lastly, big bummer about the interface. They should've setup something where you can zoom in and pick by increasing geographical areas.
posted by Atreides at 9:25 AM on May 11, 2010

You should have put a warning on the end of your post:

Make no plans for the next few weeks.

Bravo. It's an incredible resource. Now I need to go add all those feeds my Google Reader.

Ha! Thanks! :)

This is apparently what happens if I create a post and it sits around for a month. I started in April when they first announced the project, but eventually figured it would be a better FPP if the gallery were live. While I was waiting, I started tinkering. And tinkering. I'm glad they finally put the gallery up. I was debating whether to add Facebook, Twitter and RSS feed links to the media-based photo blogs last night.... :D

Really would have been happy leaving it as a comment in your post. But I must admit it's nice to see it as an FPP, too. ;) Thank you so much.

By the way, that photojournalism blog is fantastic. It covers a lot of ground. They even highlight a lot of YouTube interviews with photographers.
posted by zarq at 9:29 AM on May 11, 2010

Man, some of those deserve their own posts: Publish Or Not? raises a number of thorny issues...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:01 PM on May 11, 2010

This is a great post and I'm especially interested, even as a non-photographer, in some of the stuff I've found on the blog. Thanks to both of you for this.

But as far as the original "moment in time" - I am just too cynical to believe that somebody found a rainbow at the exact right time in the morning in Minnesota. But I so want it to be true I don't care.

And beyond that -- what kind of wonderful world to we live in 10,000 photos were taken by May 2, submitted, and arranged by approximate place and published online just 8 days later and so many people seem to asked "what took so long?"
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:54 PM on May 11, 2010

Man, some of those deserve their own posts: Publish Or Not? raises a number of thorny issues...

Just want to mention that that particular one has been made into an FPP. It's linked under the word "posts" above.
posted by zarq at 1:11 PM on May 11, 2010

A week ago I made a note to myself to actually participate in this, and then I forgot that note.

I have been kicking myself ever since.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:10 PM on May 11, 2010

May 2 was my birthday. I took a picture of a flower.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:43 PM on May 11, 2010

Now that I've had a chance to have a better look, I guess the stacks do make sense, as it's nice to just be able to scroll through them even if they are from disparate regions, rather than randomly clicking on spots on a map.
But still, far too many of them (while fantastic pictures) seem too staged or otherwise prepared, instead of giving any real insight into people's lives; apart from that a lot of the NYT's readers are highly skilled image-makers.
posted by Flashman at 6:44 PM on May 11, 2010

A Martian Moment
For gear-savvy readers who’d like to try this themselves the next time they’re on Mars, NASA explained how it was done:
This scene is a three-tall by one-wide mosaic of Pancam images taken through the camera’s red (602 nanometer), green (530 nanometer) and blue (480 nanometer) filters. It has been calibrated and processed to approximate the colors that would be seen by humans if they could be present for this lovely Martian view. The camera took the images during the 2,229th Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity’s mission on Mars.
Because the mosaic composite was assembled at Cornell — and, more importantly, because we had no geocoding available for the Meridiani Planum — we slipped our version of the picture into a stack rising over Ithaca, N.Y.
Dr. Bell gets the photo credit. His caption reads: “Two Worlds, One Sun: While humans’ lives unfolded on Earth, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity paused in its southward trek and captured this photomosaic taken around 15:00 local Mars time on May 2. Dusty, reddish-brown sand dunes stretch southward along the route to the horizon.”

Wait a minute! Local time?
Love it. :D
posted by zarq at 6:51 AM on May 12, 2010

I suppose the missing 3000 were all cock pics.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:01 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

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