The 100 Cameras Project

Liam McLachlan

I created the 100 Cameras project. The project’s first conception came from months, and years, of listening to complaints, self-deprecating jokes that had ceased to be jokes, and general malcontent for the city of Victoria. The phrase “no fun city” that was supposed to be tongue in check but was more like straight from the horse’s mouth. I started to ask “what is going on in Victoria? What, if anything, do people love about Victoria?”, then quickly realized how ill equipped and informed I was to answer that. So how do you get an answer few can argue against without incentive? Take pictures. A lot of pictures.

The project design parameters didn’t make it any easier. We couldn’t incentivize participation without it becoming a contest, we couldn’t make it strictly digital submissions, collect through an aggregating service like flickr or photobucket, or open submissions. We had to remove all barriers to participate while enforcing a set of parameters on the submissions without stating them while excluding the fewest number of people. A low tech, low fidelity solution seemed like the most elegant. We gave out 100 disposable 400 speed film cameras with the instructions “interpret and photograph what ‘made in Victoria’ means to you, bring the camera back when you’re done; of those 100, 50 have come back. All of the images received are viewable at where participants were given the opportunity to comment on their own images.

The Cameras produced some insightful and interesting results, both in the images created and the discussion around them. I would like to share some of the images and stories from the project and the challenge of engaging the public without direct benefit or incentive to participate.

About Liam McLachlan:

I’m 24. I was born and raised in Saskatchewan and I have lived in Victoria for almost 6 years. I’m currently a freelance IT consultant focused on open source systems for small business.

I have a passion for technologies that enable people, and that create value beyond the basic application of that technology.

2010 IdeaWave