Documenting America…at Home

Documenting America…at Home


Beginning this past Monday, Sept. 17, and running for the course of a single week, 100 of the world’s top photojournalists – and millions of amateur shutterbugs – are fanning out around the United States to shoot digital photos of the most important place in their lives: Home.

With America at Home, Rick Smolan and the team that produced A Day in the Life of America: America 24/7, 24 Hours in Cyberspace, and One Digital Day, will be taking on their biggest challenge to date. The result, which is expected to include several million photographs, will be the most extensive record of American home life ever created in the 21st century.

“The idea of ‘home’ is as universal and deeply ingrained as that of ‘mother’ or ‘father,’” says Smolan. “Ask people to describe what the word ‘home’ means to them and their answers tap into a deep pool of emotions and memories. We’re inviting millions of Americans to collaborate in the creation of a digital time capsule that may prove to be an invaluable resource for our descendants to understand the fabric of home life in 2007.”

Editorially, America at Home aims to capture the emotions of home: the distinctive rituals, intimate moments and all the myriad ways in which we work, play, learn, conduct our lives and interact with friends, family members (and pets!) as we transform our dwellings into our homes. From McMansions to mobile homes, from tree houses to tenement slums, from ranches to old age homes, the public is invited to help document the harmonies and paradoxes of home life across America over a single seven-day period.

Through massive grassroots online outreach, millions of Americans are being invited to simultaneously contribute their own images via a series of daily snapshots taken at the same time of day across the nation each day throughout the week. Participants will receive daily emails with assignment instructions and can also take general photos of what makes their home special. The public is being asked to sign up and upload their images at

An international team of leading magazine and newspaper photo editors will edit all of the images, shot by both professionals and amateurs. The best images will be woven together with essays from leading writers in a unique and evocative coffee table book, a website, a TV show, and an exhibit.

The images shot by the 100 professional photojournalists and millions of amateurs will reflect the extraordinary diversity that makes up American family life and will represent a broad range of economic, geographic, racial, political, and socially diverse lifestyles.

The America at Home book will be published by Running Press in March 2008 and will offer the public the ability to personalize their books with customized covers. The custom cover feature was largely responsible for the success of Smolan’s last project, America 24/7, when more than 21% of all book buyers customized their copies. This was the first time in publishing history that a New York Times best-seller was mass customized by its readers. America at Home is made possible through a partnership with IKEA with additional support being provided by HP’s Snapfish, Google and