Social media such as TikTok and Instagram are extremely prevalent in today’s society. People spend hours upon hours per day on these platforms. I feel this needs to change. With this project I want to bring people together again, and show them that there’s more to life when you spend it with others.
This is a passion project of mine. It started as a photography project, but when I found out about «Humans of New York» and «The People’s Project», it quickly changed into something more ambitious. After having talked to several of my peers, I found out that, they too, wish that people spend less time on their phones and more with each other. And that social media takes too big of a role in the «social» life of today’s society. Thus, «The Ordinary Project» was born. For the start of this project I went to grab a drink with some of the people I just met during my stay here in Switzerland, and had a heartfelt, more personal conversation with them. After that I took their portrait in a place just outside the café, which might not be perfect, but most certainly real. After that I asked them one question: «What do you think is the most beautiful thing about yourself?» I asked this specific question to make them think about themselves and what they find beautiful. I wanted them to become aware of the fact that their life is interesting in itself. But also to show the future reader that beauty is subjective, and that it can be inside and out.
Aside from this I started to learn web development and coding, using html and css. I did this in order to create a platform that is easy to navigate, and on which the viewer can take their time to view what they wish. This website can be accessed here. On this platform I wish to continue posting people and their portraits, along with from which country they are. I also wish to host events, and other things, in the future using this project as a cornerstone.
The idea for the project came from my interest in photography and art in general. I already have experience with other forms of art such as painting, illustrating, and writing, but not yet with photography. But after having learned of the organizations described in the paragraph above, I wanted to tackle this interest in a different way. After having talked with my coach, Thomas Weibel, about what I wanted to do he was very encouraging and it made me more motivated to actually do it, even though it was very ambitious. Thus, I started planning it.
At the start of this project I had little to no experience with photography whatsoever, so I started studying other photographers, and decided I wanted to pick up portrait photography. This form focuses on the human face and its features and characteristics. At first I wanted to interview and photograph people on the streets, but having observed the people in the center of Chur, it seemed quite impossible to do it that way. Keeping this in mind I changed my plan to photograph people I already know, which opened more possibilities, but also complications. The main complication was scheduling; finding a date on which we were both available.
At the end of the project I learned a little bit more about photography and its difficulties, but not enough in my opinion. Thus, I wish to continue this outside of this project.
I went into the web development side with almost zero experience as well. In order to learn it as well as I could I decided to take my time by learning online via schooling websites, and by watching tutorials. Eventually I started to get the basics, but what I wanted was more complicated, so I looked up specific tutorials. These tutorials were a bit harder to understand, but it made me think more about the code I wrote down while following the tutorial. After a few drafts, I’m quite satisfied with what I managed to make in the end.
I learned a lot of new things from this project, both positive and negative. The one skill I developed the most is web development and coding. With a minimal learning period in photography. I also learned that learning a new skill is sometimes harder than you think it will be and that it will come along with many frustrations and thoughts of quitting. But pushing through and eventually seeing the final product is worth it. There are also things I would have done differently if I had to do it all over again. The first thing is the planning of the project. A great planning is half the work, which I found out the hard way. This aside, I had a positive experience, and I would like to continue both photography and web development outside of this project.