This week, I thought I’d highlight a few online projects/resources that explore this great nation of ours, state by state.
The 50 States Project is an online photographic tour of the country, courtesy of 50 photographers, one in each state. From their website:
Each photographer lives in one of the 50 states and during the year long project each photographer will represent the state where they currently live. Every two months each photographer will be sent an assignment by e-mail, they then have two months to produce one image in response. The images must represent both their style and their state.
By the end of the project there will be 300 images which hopefully represent the talent of the photographers involved and have something to say about the USA today.
The photographers are midway through the yearlong project right now, having completed photographs for the “People,” “Habitat,” and “Landscape” assignments. “Industry” will be up next month. The images are not all brilliant — I found some of them disappointingly predictable — but the images from Jeremy and Claire Weiss, the duo photographing California, are wonderfully surreal (they have a nifty blog, too). And if you head straight for the quietly nostalgic, sepia-toned photos of Wyoming, taken by Story’s own Adam Jahiel, well, who could blame you?
Google Insights for Search offers a fascinating (and often overwhelming) look at who is Googling what, when, and where, sometimes with surprising results. I plugged “humanities” into their search engine and learned that the state where the most people run searches that include the word “humanities” is Alaska — and Wyoming comes in at a more than respectable number ten! Hooray for Wyoming humanities! “Humanities council” is the second most popular search that includes the word, after the more straightforward “the humanities.” And the related search that has increased the most over time is “digital humanities.” Hours of fun, everyone. Hours of fun.
Finally, for the second year in a row, the Boston Phoenix celebrated the Fourth of July by naming the best band in each state in the union in their 50 Bands, 50 States feature (last year, they also named the best all-time band and solo artist from each state). Being an alternative weekly, their tastes run a little more punky and hard rock than mine, but it’s still fun to see what musicians are up to across the country. I’ll ruin the suspense and tell you that this year’s Wyoming pick was Laramie’s Looker; last year’s was Teenage Bottlerocket; and they claim that the best all-time Wyoming band is The Dirty Dogs, with the best solo artist being Jeb Loy Nichols. Feel free to agree or disagree (both with their choices, and about whether they all even count as Wyoming bands). I’ll leave the other forty-nine states to swallow your Friday afternoon…