Friday, January 26

Friday Photography | Bill Sullivan

Bill Sullivan creates situational photography. He started by creating a set of rules for himself:

1. The image or photograph must be candid
2. The context of the situation must be clearly established
3. The background behind every subject in a series must be the same
4. The photographer must always be visible to the subject(s) in the photograph
5. The moments the images are to be taken must be defined before the pictures are taken
6. Secondary image(s) can be attached to the primary image if needed to clarify an established context
7. The camera should not play a visible role in the situation unless its visible presence has a role in that scenario

He has created 3 scenarios thus far...

... one in the NYC Metro:

... one in an elevator lobby:

... and one in Times Square:

[Via Archinect]

Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 21

Umoja: American Shantytown

It's resident's call it Umoja, the Swahili word for "unity" / the city of Miami calls it an illegal eyesore. Brainchild of activist Max Rameau, Umoja is part protest and part experiment. It's existence is a response to the growing housing crisis in Miami. A recent New York Times article reports that the Miami-Dade County planning department estimates Miami will need 294,200 new housing units by 2025, 42 percent of them for 'very low- or low-income households.

The shantytown has successfully fought for the right to exist using a 1998 federal district court ruling that says Miami can not criminalize homeless people for conducting “life-sustaining acts” including eating, sleeping, lighting a fire and building temporary structures on public land if local shelters were filled. Max keeps a blog documenting the project called Take Back the Land.

The small plot of public land is located in Liberty City, a neighborhood of Miami. The video below shows a makeshift city made up of about 16 structures. About 40 formerly homeless people call this place home. At Umoja they are off the streets; sleeping under a roof, cooking and eating with their neighbors, and taking care of each other when sick.

It seems the city has conceded for now:

The city commissioner who represents the area, Michelle Spence-Jones, had tried to shut the settlement down with an ordinance to require a permit for gatherings on public land. But after several visits to Umoja, she withdrew the ordinance and instead promised to arrange for trash pickup at the site three times a week.

Ms. Spence-Jones stopped short, however, at the group’s request for a mailbox. “That sends a whole other message,” she said. New York Times

It will be interesting to see how this develops. If successful, Umoja could prove to be a useful model for the homeless in other cities across the US.

If interested in doing more, you could watch more Umoja videos and then show support by signing Umoja's online petition.

Tuesday, January 9

TOMS Shoes

I just learned about TOMS Shoes over at FMCS and had to post about them here. They are a new company whose sole mission (excuse the pun) is to make the world a more comfortable place. Blake Mycoskie, founder of the company, plans to achieve this goal very simply:

For every shoe you purchase, TOMS Shoes will give a pair of shoes to a child in need.

Check out the video below for more information and (as in my case) some dusty eyed inspiration. (And please let me know if the video doesn't work for you, it's my first time posting one!)

More and more companies and organizations are realizing the power in worldchanging ideas. TOMS Shoes is selling more then just another shoe, they are selling the ability to make a difference, the ability to make your voice as a consumer heard, the ability to vote with your dollar.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a new economy forming right in front of our eyes, an economy based on values and reputation.