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Photography Spotlight: The 50 States Project

Fifty states. Fifty photographers. Six assignments. One year. Go.

That’s the basic premise of The 50 States Project, the brainchild of UK-based photographer and art photography curator Stuart Pilkington.

The year-long effort brings together 50 American photographers, each from a different state, and gives them 6 different two-month assignments throughout the year.

The project launched in January 2009 with the first assignment, “People,” followed by “Habitat” in March. The remaining 4 will be announced on May 1st,  July 1st, September 1st and November 1st of this year.

Photographs from the “People” assignment are already up, spanning the entire photography spectrum, from candid snapshots to classic portraiture to conceptual cultural commentary.

And while we wish there was a better way to browse photos within each of the assignments, we have to give it to Stuart for the brilliant idea — what better way to capture the rich character of the world’s most diverse country than through the vantage points of 50 different people situated across 50 different locales?

Keep an eye on the project for the next 5 assignments, which promise to be every bit as culturally insightful as the first.

via Photojojo

BP

Sound Meets Image: Visual Tributes to Music

The world’s most international passport, why cassettes are the new Buddhism, and what Thom Yorke has to do with motion typography.

We love music. We love art. Naturally, we love seeing the two meet and make out. After last week’s Meta-Vinyl Creativity, we’re on a mission to dig up creative projects that pay visual tribute to everything music stands for, both aesthetically and conceptually. Here are our top three finds.

RAM FM

To celebrate the culture-crossing, border-blind power of music, Palestinian and Israeli radio station RAM FM channeled its slogan, Music has no boundaries, through a brilliant visual metaphor — artist portraits “painted” with travel stamps.

It’s one of those rare concepts that you instantly get — not merely because the campaign creative captures the positioning brief so wonderfully, but also because you can simply relate to it on a personal level. We certainly can — what better way to live vicariously, to connect and converse, than through music?

RAM FM is actually known as Peace Radio and serves a greater social purpose — to serve as a cultural bridge between the people of Israel and Palestine, through the most universal social glue there is: Music. Which makes us love the campaign on yet another level.

Out of Gitam BBDO, Tel-Aviv.

via Abduzeedo

GHOST IN THE MACHINE

Non-traditional media artist iri5 works with old books, playing cards, magazines, credit cards and other everyday miscellany to create compelling, double-take-requiring artwork. Her Ghost in the Machine series uses recycled cassette tapes to create phenomenal portraits of musicians from their original cassettes.

Bob Dylan

The project is inspired by the philosophical sentiment that the body is but a package for the spirit.

Robert Smith

I imagine we are all, like cassettes, thoughts wrapped up in awkward packaging.

Jimi Hendrix

via NoiseAddicts

MUSIC MAKES US

The GRAMMYs. What a cultural icon. While it’s easy to dismiss them as an entertainment industry popularity contest, we like to think of them as a way of honoring the music that inspires, impacts and moves the greatest number of people.

This year, The Recording Academy wanted to capture this very sentiment in a fully integrated campaign that asks a simple yet profound question: Do we make great music or does great music make us?

It’s no secret we’re big fans of motion typography, so we love both the concept and the brilliant execution.

Out of TBWAChiatDay.

BP

Monday Music Muse: Kat Edmonson

From Paris to London to Southern California, by way of Austin, Texas.

We’re still making our way through 140+ hours of SXSW music, having found less than twenty 5-star-worthy tracks to date. But but with foot planted firmly among them is Kat Edmonson — a refreshing oasis of raspy, jazzy goodness among the barren landscape of indie punk-pop-rock mediocrity.

Her latest album, Take To The Sky, is a delight from start to finish, including the best cover of Summertime we’ve heard in quite some time. In fact, it’s the best new jazz vocal we’ve heard in quite some time, period.

Part Duffy, part Madeleine Peyroux, Edmonson blends the magnetism of French jazz with the British school of raspy vocals, intertwined with notes of social responsibility reminiscent of the California indie scene — all by way of Austin, Texas.

You can download her excellent SXSW single, Just One Of Those Things, free from the festival website. And take our word for it — the entire Take To The Sky album is every bit as good.

BP

Earth Hour 2009

The only election that matters, or what Linkin Park have to do with the UN Secretary General and your Saturday night.

Today’s edition is really a call to action, one very simple yet very important action — switching off your lights for an hour tomorrow night. Because tomorrow, March 28, between 8:30PM and 9:30PM local time (whatever your locale), is Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is a global sustainability movement ignited by WWF. It began two years ago in Sydney, when 2.2 million homes and offices switched off their lights for one hour in an effort to raise awareness about the urgency of changing our daily habits in order to combat climate change. By 2008, 50 million people had joined the movement. Iconic landmarks like the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House, and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

This year, Earth Hour stands for something much bigger — a global vote for change, aiming to draw 1 billion people into the voting booth that is the light switch. Although this is political, it’s not about national politics — it’s about planetary politics.

The propaganda materials for this year’s event were designed by none other than Shepard Fairey, whom it’s no secret we respect on more levels than we can count.

The effort, dubbed VOTE EARTH, is a global call to action for everyone — every office, every housewife, every partygoer and bookworm and sheep herder. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH, with anyone from the UN Secretary General to Edward Norton to Linkin Park endorsing the effort and urging us to join in.

So here’s what to do:

  • Sign up — commit to make your planetary vote count.
  • Tell your friends — darkness is always more fun in company.
  • Make an event of it and, really, have some fun with it — take photos, make a video, follow Earth Hour on Twitter and tag any of your related tweets with #earthhour or #voteearth and your #location.

That’s it, it’s that simple. So, um, just do it, willl ya? We ceartainly will.

BP

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