From Ossobuco to Afghanistan

[cross-posted on Fresh Influence]


I remember back in 2005-6, when I worked at Nokia, an anecdote that blew people away was something along the lines that Nokia was the world's largest manufacturer of digital cameras. It didn't take much imagination to picture a world with billions of photographers, capturing and sharing images in near real-time. That's obviously happened. Every day we're bombarded on Facebook, Twitter and blogs with images of Ossobuco; chubby-cheeked little babies; cats - lots of cats; keg stands; post-card sunsets; and new Manolos. To each his own.

What I couldn't have imagined back then - though I'm certain many did - was the profound impact the democratization of digital photography would have on our ability to tell touching, funny and impactful stories. Furthermore, that particularly adept creators would marry mobile photography with readily available technology to convey complex narratives in a way that feels so accessible and genuine. On that note, I recently stumbled on a project called Basetrack that embodies what I believe is the best of this new storytelling. As Basetrack describes itself:

This is an experimental media project, tracking the deployment of 1/8 – 1st Battalion, Eighth Marines, throughout the duration of their deployment to southern Afghanistan. A small team of mobile media operators is embedded with the battalion, transmitting their reports and reflections from Helmand province as they travel across the battalion’s area of operations.

Check out the site (and their mindblowing Flickr stream)- there's an newsfeed for stories related to the war in Afghanistan; a Twitter and Facebook aggregator; and a killer interactive map where you can scan a map and timeline to find photos, videos, blog posts and stories from the 1/8.

It is what the 'embed' model was meant to be.

A few of my favorite photos are below (courtesy of Basetrack's Flickr stream) - most of them shot on an iPhone and filtered with Hipstamatic. Pretty stunning.