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Guest Post 24: Robert Dannin on the “Day in the Life” Projects (e)

[Editor’s Note: Here we continue “The Dannin Papers,” a series of Guest Posts by Robert Dannin, who served as Editorial Director of Magnum Photos from 1985-90.

This second chapter — Dannin’s first-hand observations of the evolution and impact on the profession of the “A Day in the Life of …” book series (DITLO) as conceived […]

Guest Post 24: Robert Dannin on the “Day in the Life” Projects (d)

No one even attempted to conceal that A Day in the Life of China was a de facto joint venture with the ruling Communist Party. Teaching the young Collins maestros how to fiddle, the apparatchiks crafted A Day in the Life of China as “a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.” Key partners in executing this lofty theme were to be the People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese National Publishing Industry Trading Corporation, and the Great Wall Publishing House. […]

Guest Post 24: Robert Dannin on the “Day in the Life” Projects (c)

“A Day in the Life of America” was a classic bait-and-switch maneuver, directing the public gaze toward nonsense images while the Reagan administration savagely attacked ordinary working people. Lacking spontaneity, decontextualized, and bordering on puffery, the artless Day in the Life of America remains arguably the most embarrassing collection of images in the annals of photography. […]

Guest Post 24: Robert Dannin on the “Day in the Life” Projects (b)

With great hubris, Rick Smolan and David Cohen were going to reinvent photojournalism. The first tactic of this radical makeover: ignore conventional reportage by dispersing photographers to randomly selected venues and inviting them to burn as much film as possible in a 24-hour period. […]

Guest Post 24: Robert Dannin on the “Day in the Life” Projects (a)

The Collins “Day in the Life of …” series of books was the first spectacular disruption aimed at transforming professional photographers into undervalued content providers, the unfortunate state of affairs that today confronts those wishing to make a career of making images. […]