In Conversation with Three Photo Editors on Curating @EverydayEverywhere
With nearly 800,000 photos hash-tagged #EverydayEverywhere on Instagram, selecting one image a day for a week can be a daunting task.
“I thought I could simply pick my favorite photos using the same gut-reaction I often use when I edit a photo shoot. That tactic quickly showed itself to be a terrible approach for me. I am way too type-A,” she said.
Not surprisingly, she says, she went with the theme of “yellow,” her favorite color, after noticing that there was a splash of it in her first selection.
Though she had a parameter set, Maggie says that curating @EverydayEverywhere is more freeing because at her job as editor for Open Society Foundations, she has to choose images to accompany specific articles and report on human rights issues. “Due to this, I was perhaps a little overzealous when I got to do my own takeover! I am clearly not alone, since it is evident that guest curators put 100% effort into the privilege of curating the feed, all the while making it look so easy.”
Independent editor and educator Andrea Wise would likely agree with Maggie about effort, given that she started her curation in the way she always approaches photography: with research.
“Even though I researched and found images in advance, inevitably each day I’d end up finding a new image that would catch my eye and the plan would go out the window, but that’s pretty consistent with how I like to work — I like formulating a plan to set things in motion but then staying open to moving in whatever direction the work moves me,” she says.
While looking for images that “speak to something universal,” Andrea aimed to post images that had not already gathered a lot of “likes” or attention. “Seeing the range of work from literally every corner of the world — and not just by professional photographers — is really a testament to how visual our culture has become.”
Haley Hamblin, a photo editor at Mashable, says one of the most intriguing aspects of images hash-tagged #EverydayEverywhere is that they are shot by anyone, for anything — but that’s also “what makes finding standout images hard.”
While she is usually working with several images shot by the same photographer to tell “different pieces of one story,” Haley says when curating the feed, she looked for “one image to tell the whole story.”
Photographed by a professional or not, Haley believes the strength in @EverydayEverywhere images is their ability to open up our eyes to different cultures. “Whether it’s kids tubing on a hill in Iran or people commuting to work in Brazil, at the end of the day we have a lot more in common than we think.”
Although Maggie agrees that Everyday images “bust stereotypes,” “pick up where the global media leaves off,” and even “repair some of the harm caused by stereotypes people form from the breaking news focus of media coverage,” she stresses the importance of providing an added layer of context to an image through captions.
“Context is critical, caption information informs us. Captions can bring us together or polarize us. Either way, everyone is responsible for what they post, and they should be especially conscious of not causing harm or inspiring emotions that are not accurate to the situation,” she says.
Not providing captions compelled Maggie to reach out to some photographers, which led to “lovely interactions with photographers, learning a little about them [and] their work. The result was solid hashtags, effective geotagging and positive exposure for people dedicated to the ‘everyday’,” she says.
This dedication has collectively created what Andrea loves about @EverydayEverywhere: a space for quiet moments that don’t directly fit into the news cycle. “Sometimes it’s nice to see a familiar scene take place in an unfamiliar place or to just relish in the thrill of being alive. Photographs don’t always have to have global news value to be relevant and worth sharing.”