A day in the life of Billings means many things to the dozens of people who took cameras in hand to document the town.
For a 24-hour period between midnight April 4,
and the end of April 5, area
residents did what people have done from Spain to India and Russia: shoot images for "A Day in the Life" photo show.
The fruits of the communal endeavor surprised and delighted organizers, who have hung the show at Yellowstone Art Museum for a run through June 29.
The show opens with a free family day this Saturday.
According to YAM docent Linda Snider, a major force behind the show, "We wanted to celebrate the richness of the community and open it up to everyone."
Patterned after similar photography projects in such diverse spots as Los Angeles, Paris and New Delhi, the project has had immense appeal.
Snider speculates that it has to do with a kind of pleasant voyeurism."The seduction of sharing another person's life, or reality, through photographs is as old as photography itself," she says.
Docents, or volunteers at YAM, think the new show is a handsome complement to the current Nature Conservancy show, "In Response to Place," also on display at the YAM.
Among the "Day in Life" images are pets and people, parks and other familiar places. The show features many "nearly spring" landscapes and a variety of people images. The people are walking, talking, weaving, sitting, gardening, enjoying Billings on a lovely April day.
And there are some fun images, with double exposures and even a space ship that apparently circled the area that day.
"There's something for everyone, of just about everything," Snider says, "including individuals, families and friends at work and play, schools, organizations, businesses, games, pets, homes, daily activities, hobbies, weather, nature, and the mix that was happening in and around Billings on that specific day, Friday, April 4."
A Day in the Life of Billings coaxed entries from all walks of life, Snider says. "We really involved the entire community, young and old. We had kids out with cameras, professionals, homemakers, students, businessmen. It was just great."
The photos encompass both the important and the mundane aspect of life here, she says.
The project personifies YAM director Robert Knight's desire that the museum reach out and touch the community, encouraging participation and interest in the exhibits.
The unique "Day in Life" idea, he says, allowed artists and would-be-artists, "a wide, interesting range of people" to explore their creative processes and respond to their place and to capture it on film. These
captured moments celebrate the community, he says, and acknowledge the myriad forces that contribute to its uniqueness.
The 24-hour approach has impact because it shows the variety within a limited time, Snider says.
"And it covers the day into night feeling, so there are nighttime images as well as those more familiar images that take place in the light."
The YAM accepted one photograph per person for the collaborative exhibition, encouraging children's participation by provided schools with cameras.
The Museum's Young Artists Gallery will offer a parallel exhibit to the "Day in Life," from a child's perspective. The museum's education department will also offer photography classes in conjunction with the photo exhibits. Times and dates will be available Saturday.
No photo was rejected. All submitted are hanging in the exhibition.