STEVE INSKEEP, host:
OK. You might not remember exactly what you were doing on say a Friday in April at 7:15 p.m. this past year. Well, the photographers at SameTime715.com do remember, because they've been documenting each day with photo's at 7:15 p.m. for the past year day after day after day. It all started when a professor and his former student decided to work on a photography project, and this evolved into hundreds of photos coming from six different lives. NPR's Leah Scarpelli tagged along.
(Soundbite of conversation)
Professor MICHAEL LEASE (Virginia Commonwealth University, Photographer, SameTime715.com): What if one of us photographed the front of the house and one of us photographed the back of the house?
LEAH SCARPELLI: Michael Lease is visiting friends. It's about 7:10 p.m., stir fries on the stove. Lease is mulling over what he'll photograph tonight with former student and co-founder of the project Brad Walker.
Prof. LEASE: Also, what if we photograph the two of them since we're in their house, and they're making us dinner, and you're holding their cat.
SCARPELLI: Over this past year they and four other photographers have each taken a photo everyday at the same time, and then uploaded the images to their public website. Here's Brad Walker.
Mr. BRAD WALKER (Contributer, SameTime715.com): It was kind of like to have a place we could see a ton of photos. That's what we talked about.
SCARPELLI: Scroll across the pictures and you might see bright green vegetables cooking in a pan, a pair of feet viewed from above, a game of pool or scrabble in action - all ordinary things maybe, but for the photographers of Same Time 7:15 that's the whole point, or at least contributor how Kate MacDonnell describes it.
Ms. KATE MACDONNELL (Contributor, SameTime715.com): It's just some little private thing in your life. The thing that's happening inside of your little small apartment - not like on any larger scale at all.
SCARPELLI: And she says taking a photo at 7:15 p.m. reveals a lot about who's behind the lens.
Ms. MACDONNELL: You aren't at your work, and you haven't really sunken into your night time activities, so it's kind of this limbo-ee time, but it's your real life.
SCARPELLI: So, you take the photo. Next step, add a caption. Michael Lease.
Prof. LEASE: I generally want it to always be really explicit about what I was doing at that time, because I see it very much as a diary that I'm maybe one day going to look back at, and that it's gonna matter.
SCARPELLI: Some photos are poignant. Others are just baffling. Some hold memories or tell stories of childhood. One shows a hand holding a bright orange crooked carrot. When my nana was alive, the caption reads, we sliced the carrots we put in salads. We peel them now. Soung Wiser, another collaborator, believes the project is different from say, Facebook or even an ordinary photo album.
Ms. SOUNG WISER (Contributor, SameTime715.com): The larger memories over your past year will tend to stand out, but then the smaller ones definitely fall through the cracks. And SameTime does a lot just to remind you of those little pleasures, too.
SCARPELLI: The website could also resonate with people outside the group, says Michael Lease.
Prof. LEASE: What I hope happens if you stumble upon it is kind of grandiose, but in a way I hope that it sort of an act of humility to take the time to look and to read, and that you are allowing six other peoples' lives into your own life.
Mr. WALKER: By my time it's 7:30 p.m.
SCARPELLI: So far, there's no image for tonight. We're back in the kitchen and Michael and Brad are still debating what to photograph.
Mr. WALKER: Maybe we should. Maybe you should just photograph Leah standing there, and I'll photograph Adam here. And then we'll both get…
Unidentified Woman: And we'll all be in position.
Prof. LEASE: And, we'll all be in the photograph.
SCARPELLI: Since I was standing there at 7:15, I ended up on the website.
Prof. LEASE: We're all doing like this ridiculous amount of stuff.
Unidentified Man: 3, 2, 1…
(Soundbite of camera snapping)
SCARPELLI: Leah Scarpelli, NPR News.
INSKEEP: OK. You can see some photos at npr.org, and the photographers at Same Time 7:15 take their final pictures today. And as they look back, our commentator Frank Deford is looking ahead.
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