During the summer of 2011, we started a project called Disposable Stories. We gave 10 disposable cameras to 10 people in Paris to take with them on a trip and be the first link in a chain of five persons who were each to take five photos.
Six months later we got the first of the cameras back and published the photos on our website. Not only did the project work, but the photos were amazing!
The massive positive reaction and the hundreds of comments and emails by people who wanted to join the project prompted us to plan a second run on a bigger scale. That's why we are coming to Kickstarter to raise funds to finance the operation and connect with the community to give everyone a chance to be part of the project this time.
If the project gets funded we will send 99 disposable cameras around the world.
With social media, smartphones, digital photography and ubiquitous Internet access - even in the most remote places - it has never been easier to log your travels and share trips with followers.
Not only can we share as much as we like about our travels on the net - often with anonymous strangers through blogging and on Twitter - but we can get tips on what to do and feedback on what we’re missing.
The great thing about the way we travel in this day and age - apart from the endless online resources and literature available - is the amount of connections we can make. Not only can we easily find the people we want to meet more easily, but they can find us too.
And it’s the personal connections in travel that we are interested in highlighting. But we’re interested in both the energy and face to face experiences between travelers - in the traditional spirit of travel - and in the way travelers come to meet and stay in touch.
So, the basic idea: we’re sending disposable cameras to travelers who want to start a trip and a chain of Disposable Stories. The first person takes a few photos of their travels, and then passes the camera along to someone they meet along the way who is heading in a different direction and wants to continue the chain by documenting their travels and passing the camera along. The end result of the camera’s trip and the images captured on it will be a complete surprise to all in the end.
The new age of connecting - both innovative and traditional!
Once the project is funded, we'll buy 99 disposable cameras to send to the backers of the project initially who can start the chain during their next trip. Then we'll give the remaining ones to travelers that are enthusiastic and committed to the project at the rhythm of about two per week until we don't have any more left.
Each chain consists of 5 people taking 5 photos each. The last person on the chain gets in touch with us so we can arrange and finance the shipping to our office for the development.
Every time we get a camera back, we'll publish the photos on our site and on Facebook. We'll also send digital copies and prints to all participants (depending on the pledge).
A page will be dedicated to the project on Hejorama.com, featuring a map showing the last known location of every camera, the name of our amazing backers and all the photos of the cameras that have come back so far.
If everything go as planned and we get enough back we'll organize an exhibition in various places and possibly make a book using the photos.
Here's a breakdown of the expenses for this project explaining the total 4,800$ goal.
- 30% to buy the 99 cameras (for the test run we used Kodak Funsavers that proved solid and had good photo quality).
- 3% print of labels for the customization of the cameras
- 10% shipping of 30 cameras back to our office*
- 20% development of the film from the 30 cameras in a specialized photo lab*
- 27% shipping of the 99 cameras around the world.
- 10% money transfer costs. Unfortunately we are not in based in the US and need to use a friend of ours to receive the money and transfer it to us in France.
*Why 30 cameras only? Well, for the test run we’ve only got 2 cameras out of 10 back which means a 20% return rate. With the project receiving more attention we hope to get to 30%, but realistically 70% will still get lost. If we get more, we'll be so happy with the success of the project that we'll pay from our own pockets.
We have built an in-house mapping project that we are using to follow cool travelers around the world. We will enhance it to be able to map the cameras in real time using twitter.
Basically people will simply have to tweet something like "@hejomap camera 5 is in Paris" to update the location to a camera on the map. And if they send us the location via email, we'll update it manually.
The test run
When we launched this project, we could only afford to buy 10 cameras. No one around us believed it would work so we had to dig in our own pockets to finance the operation and prove them wrong.
It took 6 months, but finally a camera that traveled from Paris, France to Saigon, Vietnam was sent back to us from the US after having visited Germany, Austria and Norway on the way.
Here are some of the photos.
And three months later we got a second one back. This camera had, by chance, left Paris on the same day that the first one came back.
Hopefully, we'll have many more!
You can check the following articles for all the photos:
Thanks to Ruben from Cosmo Sapiens, our sister design studio, for creating the video and Siri for doing the narration.
Music credit: "Cage" by Steve McEvoy