While browsing the aisles of Powell’s City of Books in Portland two years ago, Brian Burk stumbled across “One Average Day: Oregon Project Dayshoot Photographs, 15 July 1983.” The book featured photos taken by 92 amateur and professional photographers across the state of Oregon on July 15, 1983, documenting an average day in the lives of Oregonians.
Two years later, as a multimedia master’s student in Prof. Lauren Kessler’s Story and Commerce class, he was asked to propose a significant, innovative storytelling project that makes use of multimedia. That’s when Brian Burk decided to take on Project Dayshoot+30.
“It dawned on me that the anniversary of the project was coming up, so I proposed re-creating it for an assignment,” Burk said. “But then I thought, ‘This could actually happen so why not just go for it?’”
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Project Dayshoot, Burk spearheaded Project Dayshoot+30, a 24-hour effort on July 15, 2013 to capture a single day’s worth of images across the state.
“The goal for this year was to create a historical document for future Oregonians who want to know what daily life was like in Oregon in 2013, and to highlight the changes in journalism since 1983,” Burk said.
With the help of Strategic Communication master’s student Kara Christenson, the faculty at the Turnbull Center and a dedicated group of volunteers, Burk generated interest from media across the state, including a show of support from Gov. Kitzhaber who declared July 15 “Oregon Journalism Day.”
Altogether, roughly 150 photographers contributed to the project, including 33 of the 92 photographers from the original Project Dayshoot, countless amateurs also participated through social media, labeling their photos with #Dayshoot30. Even Burk, who is a small plane pilot, was in the air photographing.
Beyond being the inspiration for taking on the project, Burk’s involvement in the Multimedia Master’s program also helped to frame the presentation of the images.
“One of the things that has been emphasized in the program is the importance of story in journalism,” said Burk. “I wanted to assemble the images in a way that connects a base human commonality that we have as Oregonians, no matter if we live in downtown Portland or a ranch in Eastern Oregon.”
The Oregon Historical Society will publish a photo essay of Project Dayshoot+30 in the next issue of Oregon Historical Quarterly. An installation featuring photos from the project can be viewed at Portland International Airport on Councourse A through February. Burk also hinted at the possibility of publishing a book. The project website dayshoot30.org is updated weekly.
Austin Lacter, ’14