Polaroid of That Day

Jamie Livingston, filmmaker, took a Polaroid photograph every day for eighteen years until he inevitably died. His collection of photos is published against a sparse black background on a site called Some Photos of That Day. There are no captions, no biography or explanation, just a collection of thousands of sequentially dated moments in time.


Livingston’s project begins on March 31, 1979 with the foreshorten profiles of two anonymous women speaking to a person beyond the view of the lens. Through the next eighteen years he compiles a story of his life in frames: evenings with friends, strangers, travel, televised deaths of note, accolades, and more frequently: glimpses of the mundane. The warm and muted hues of old Polaroids connote childhood for people of my generation and the elusive shadows of the world immediately before existence, when parents were young adults exploring the world in the ways that are seldom revealed to their children. The flavors of grey-blue skies and eggshell white lends itself to the allure and mystery of Livingston’s catalog. James Livingston has perhaps crafted the precursor to the weblog in the textured form of an ancestor’s quilt.

I discovered this project on Mental Floss several months ago; an article by Chris Higgins reveals some of the mysteries behind the collection, though after viewing the photographs for myself, I find Higgin’s researched account as something of a spoiler.

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