I was fascinated by yesterday’s New York Times story on artist Jamie Livingston, who took a Polaroid every day for 18 years. He started in 1979 when he was 22 and continued up to (and including) Oct. 25, 1997, when he died of cancer on his 41st birthday.
Livingston’s friends Hugh Crawford and Betsy Reid scanned and organized all 6,000 photos, which can be seen here.
An August story in The Guardian about Livingston was very informative and moving. I especially loved this anecdote:
“…the plan was to take one picture and keep it no matter how it turned out. Once they found themselves walking with circus elephants through the heart of New York, late at night. Crawford turned to his friend and suggested this could be the picture of the day. ‘He was like, “No, I took a picture of my lunch, it’s already been taken,”‘ laughs Crawford.”
Check out Jamie Livingston’s Photo of the Day. I warn you that you’ll feel shame if you’ve missed a day of blogging due to a cold or hangover after you see Livingston’s photos from October 1997.
* Fashion Dreamer * says
Wow…thanks for sharing this Wendy! I’m going to spend an obscene amount of time trawling through the pics then wondering why I haven’t done something like this before, sounds like an amazing project.It’s a pity they’re not making polariod anymore
La Belette Rouge says
I wonder if his daily photographs came out of a prescient knowing that he would not live long—sort of treasuring and capturing of each day. A very moving collection of photos that seem to have an intrinsic moral of valuing what is and not trying to change it.
Thanks for sharing this!
Heh heh . . . I already feel guilty about being a bad blogger! I love those photos. I love Polaroids – instant gratification!
Sharon Rose says
Hi there-Polaroids were an excellent invention, its a shame that everythings all digital now. A great post.
Make Do and Mend says
I love the elephant anecdote!
Lord these are fabulous. Very moving. His final photo captures the transition to death so intently.
Thanks for sharing!
This is amazing!
this is such a touching story. it’s so moving to know that he had so many wonderful things to document his life, even though it was cut far too short.
Hot Bot says
Thanks for sharing this! Fascinating story.
Miss Karen says
This is such an incredible story. I’ll definitely be checking him out!
PS. Your post below made me lol and lol and lol.
Prunella Jones says
Cool. I clicked over and saw a picture of (him?) in a Residents costume. That takes me back.
this story is so amazing! I love this post, thanks for sharing
THE HOUSE OF STYLE says
wow this is a beautiful story to share Wendy! I had never heard of him so I was so inspired by it all. I love polaroids and that he took one a day for so many years…. amazing! thank you for sharing this hon.he is so inspiring.
I may not fashion blog every day but I have a perosnal blog that I update almost every day.
I amdire that he took a photo everyday…even when terribly ill. I tend to withdraw on days I am ill and when I am traveling I have no internet hook-up (since I do not own a laptop) but he still stuck to taking photos…that is admirable.
This is very cool. I will go check the links.
My boyfriend showed this to me a few weeks back and those last photos were the first thing that got my attention. Just heart wrenching.
I had to look at the photo that he took on April 14, 1983, the day my husband LeRoy died. What an interesting story you’ve given me a chance to experience–thanks, WendyB.
What an achievement. I wish I could leave some memorable legacy like this … Thank you for sharing this.
Lynette, I was particularly thinking of you when I posted this.
Another thought, with the widespread use of digital camera capturing an image for a day loses the novelty. Things are too easy. Is it just me missing the old ways?
Songy, I often think of that actually. I remember so well traveling and having to be very careful about what I took a picture of because I only had 26 frames or whatever.
Wow, that’s awesome. Thanks for posting about it.
it takes a true artist to think of dedicating everyday of his life to doing something like this. He died so young but will be remebered.
the iron chic says
I almost cried just now looking at those………
Always In Style says
I nearly broke down too…I’ll have to explore those pics even more but just wanted to say thanks for posting – I hadn’t heard about this but I love the idea.
this is amazing… i’m definitely crying at my desk. so simple but so moving.
That. is. amazing.
Wow, incredible story, and very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this with me, WendyB.
amazing. thanks for sharing the link. I am saving it so I can look through all the photos when I have time.
i thought one year was tough but man 22 years! That’s dedication. so admirable. and the photos are so moving.