Rick Smolan

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Rick Smolan
Rick Smolan in the Sausalito headquarters of his production company, "Against All Odds Productions"
Born (1949-11-05) November 5, 1949 (age 66)

Rick Smolan is a former TIME, LIFE and National Geographic photographer best known as the co-creator of the "Day in the Life" book series. He is currently CEO of Against All Odds Productions.[1]


Smolan is a 1972 graduate of Dickinson College and co-created the best-selling Day in The Life Series photography series with David Elliot Cohen who are credited for creating the mass market for large-format illustrated books.[2] Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt, co-founders of Against All Odds Productions, have produced a number of ambitious global crowd sourcing projects. They combine creative storytelling with state-of-the-art technology in collaboration with hundreds of the world's leading photographers, writers, and graphic designers.[3]

Fortune Magazine selected Against All Odds as One of the 25 Coolest Companies in America.

More than five million of his books adorn coffee tables around the world; titles include America at Home, UK at Home, 24 Hours in Cyberspace, Passage to Vietnam, One Digital Day, and From Alice to Ocean.[4] Many have appeared on the New York Times best-seller lists and have been featured on the covers of Fortune, Time, and Newsweek. .[5] Rick Smolan is also a member of the CuriosityStream Advisory Board.[6]

Data Collection Projects[edit]

In 2000 Smolan organized The Planet Project: Your Voice, Your World, one of the largest real-time internet polls in internet history, with the aim to get answers from over 1.5 million people in more than 240 countries on how they felt about their lives at the dawn of the new millennium.[7]

In 2012 Smolan and co-author Jennifer Erwitt published The Human Face of Big Data, a book in which Smolan and Erwitt used various photographs, graphics, and information to make big data easier to comprehend and absorb on a more personal, relatable level.[5]

Notable works[edit]

In the fall of 2012 Smolan released Human Face of Big Data focusing on humanity's new ability to collect, analyze, triangulate and visualize vast amounts of data in real time.[5] The project, sponsored by EMC, Cisco and SAP resulted in a large format Book, an engaging Ipad App, and a Tv special. The book was delivered to 10,000 key influencers in 50 countries courtesy of Fed Ex. The project won a 2013 Webby Award.

In 2009, Smolan published Obama Time Capsule, which incorporated photos of Obama's first campaign for presidential office and his first 100 days in office. It includes commentary from various notable people including Arianna Huffington and General Colin Powell.[8] The Obama Time Capsule was also published in a form where each book was printed separately and readers could include their own contributions and photos to personalize the individual book they would receive.[9]

In November 2007 Smolan and Erwitt published Blue Planet Run : The Race to Provide Safe Drinking Water to the World, a series of photos illustrating attempts around the world to bring fresh drinking water to various communities suffering from lack of clean and consistent water supply.[10]

America At Home , UK at Home, and America 24/7 encapsulates various perspectives on life by inviting the public to submit images, and enabled readers to place their own photographs within or on the book.[11]

In 2003 Smolan and Cohen published America 24/7, a NY Times bestseller and was described as a "national family album", it was featured as one of Oprah Winfrey's "Favorite Things.[12][13]

In the 1990s Against All Odds proved the storytelling powers of interactive CD-ROMs, with From Alice to Ocean and Passage to Vietnam.[14] 24 Hours in Cyberspace took a snapshot of the Internet in its infancy. One Digital Day explored the impact of the microprocessor on civilization.[2]

From Alice to Ocean, is a collection of photographs Smolan took of Robyn Davidson's 1,700-mile trek across the deserts of West Australia that National Geographic Magazine sponsored. Davidson's writings along with Smolan's photographs became a National Geographic cover story. An autobiographical account of her trek was later published in 1980 as a book entitled Tracks, which included some of Smolan's photographs.[15][16] An Australian film based on Tracks was released in August 2013, starring Mia Wasikowska as Davidson and Adam Driver as Smolan.[17][18]

In 1996, Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt published their next "Day in the Life" book 24 Hours in Cyberspace: Painting on the Walls of the Digital Cave, another collection of photographs from 150 photojournalists, with the intention to, over a 24-hour period, chronicle how the internet was beginning to have a profound effect on the daily lives of people around the world.[10][19]

Photography Books[edit]


External links[edit]