Updated: Aug 19, 2021
Wherever photographers were in the world, once the clock stuck midnight on July 24, they picked up their cameras and photographed humanity.
Whilst photographers were not obligated to participate in posting every hour, it was great to see the commitment of those who did.
I spoke to three photographers on their experience participating in the 24 Hour Project 2021.
Participating this year on his iPhone as an extra challenge to himself, Irish photographer Mal McCann says he'd wanted to take part in the project since 2018.
In 2018, creative director of the 24 Hour Project, Renzo Grande, spoke in Galway, Ireland at the MoJoFest conference.
"He outlined what the aims and objectives were and how it has evolved since 2012," McCann explained.
As Belfast ambassador, McCann's job was to encourage and guide photographers in the project.
"Some of the photographers were apprehensive about doing the whole 24 hours and not confident about the style and content of the photographs needed, so I was able to convince them and allay their fears.
"It is a big undertaking and a challenge especially for people with work and family commitments but the results are worth it."
McCann has been increasingly using his iPhone as his primary camera since 2017, saying he has 'progressed in this new and exciting field of photography'.
Using it to challenge himself, McCann found that using his iPhone's camera actually helped him during the project.
"Armed with the camera that almost everyone has in their pocket I was able to get in close and engage with the subject and I think the smartphone put people at ease."
"I was amazed at how people were willing to be photographed as I explained to them the aims of the project and the charities that the crowdfunding campaign will support."
Benny Wee Ming Hann
Benny Wee from Singapore was amongst over 4000 photographers who signed up to participate this year.
"I saw their advertised posts on Instagram, and the concept intrigued me," Benny said of the project.
"It was the first time I'd done something like that, and initially the race to take one good photograph, edit, and post it was quite challenging. However, once I got into the rhythm of things, the hours just flew by."
During the project, photographers had to share one photo an hour using the hashtag #24hr21 on social media.
To achieve this, photographers would have to be able to quickly transfer their photos to their phones or laptops to be published.
"Shooting during the pandemic made things a bit more difficult," Benny continues, "but there were also opportunities that might have presented themselves otherwise.
"I wanted to capture a bit of that loneliness that we're all feeling now, but also a quiet insistence to get on with our lives.
"I do hope that I achieved a little of that in my photographs."
London photographer, Teri Purcell had participated in the 24 Hour Project since 2015.
" Each year I think I know what to expect - but each time it’s a little different!
"It depends on the time of year, the events that we attend, the weather, the people you’re doing it with and this year of course the spectre of the pandemic hanging over everything."
Purcell believes that the 24 Hour Project gives her street photography a purpose, rather than just being her hobby.
"I think I enjoy doing the project so much because it puts everything I usually do into a sharp focus."
Purcell has also been posting bonus photos from the day as Instagram blocked her from posting anymore that day.
Follow Terri Purcell on Instagram.
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