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Can you find the digital aspect of this picture?

The microchip and you

Smolan seeks to open eyes with 'One Digital Day'

Web posted on: Friday, May 22, 1998 4:50:05 PM EDT

(CNN) -- As Rick Smolan sees it, the average person doesn't realize how much the computer age affects him or her.

But Smolan is out to change that with his latest creation, "One Digital Day," a book of over 200 pictures that capture how microprocessors touch virtually every aspect of human life on all corners of the globe. The book is the result of a massive effort directed by Smolan and his company Against All Odds, with the photos taken around the world in one single day.

Following his success in the "Day in the Life" books and "24 Hours in Cyberspace," Smolan recruited over 100 top photojournalists for the "One Digital Day" project, which took place last summer.

'Where's Waldo?'

The photographers were sent to 28 countries on six continents to capture human beings as they were being affected by microprocessors. Photo editors from "National Geographic," "Time," "Fortune," and London's "Sunday Times" had the daunting task of selecting the best illustrations of the diversity of people and activities now relying on microprocessors.

Smolan says he gave his photographers one rule: "We've purposely asked the photographers to go out of their way not to have people sitting in front of computers."

"Nobody thought they would be emotionally touched by this."
-- Rick Smolan, "One Digital Day"

The result is an astounding collection in which many pictures require the viewer to read associated captions to learn exactly where the microchip is located.

"It's like 'Where is Waldo?' That was a running joke in our office," Smolan said.

For instance, one picture taken in Istanbul, Turkey, by photojournalist Mehmet Gulbiz shows people boarding a bus. But if you look closely, a small boy boarding the vehicle is carrying an "I-button" -- a rechargeable computer chip that acts as cash and gives the boy access to the transportation.

From sprinklers to stats, technology abounds at Turner Field

Microprocessing America's pastime

Another section displays how the microchip has changed America's favorite pastime.

Photographer Larry C. Price visited the Atlanta Braves' new Turner Field, which is humming with microprocessors from the ground up. The field has moisture sensors embedded beneath the turf to tell the grounds crew when and how much to water it. During the game, technicians run the giant screen in center field with the help of computers, and manager Bobby Cox studies computer printouts of weaknesses of opposing players.

The microprocessor is also allowing more prayers to be placed in Jerusalem's sacred Wailing Wall. Jews around the world can now e-mail their prayers to a service based in Jerusalem, which prints out the prayers and inserts them into the wall. Live pictures from cameras positioned above the Holy City let senders live the experience vicariously.

"One Digital Day" captures the moment with a moving photo of the digital prayers finding their home in the wall.

A man stuffs printed email prayers into the Wailing Wall

'People were surprised'

Smolan says his book turned out better than expected.

"People were surprised. They thought we would have a book full of people sitting in front of computers," Smolan says. "You spend so much time in a dark room and you wonder if it's going to make sense to anyone else. I think nobody thought they would be emotionally touched by this."

Smolan believes "One Digital Day" will open some eyes.

"The fantasy of being able to hold a day in your hand, that idea that all these pictures are happening relatively simultaneously in every corner of the globe is another way of showing and proving how ubiquitous this technology is," Smolan says.


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