24 hours, 24 photographers, 24 years


For the past 10 years a group of 24 photographers have been recording the first 24 hours of every new year, creating what they call a social commentary that will last for generations.

Last year I ran a selection of the work and thought it would be good idea to do so again as the project still has many years to run, their aim being to continue for 24 years.

The photographers are tasked with capturing a single moment within their allotted hour on an annual theme, this time it was Sign of the Times.

The original 24 met while on a postgraduate photography course at Central Saint Martin's in London, though some have gone their own way and new faces have now joined the pool.

This year six pictures will be auctioned off for Hope and Homes for Children and the exhibition was guest curated by Magnum Photos' Peter Marlow.

"I was delighted to be asked to curate the collection of images from the 10th year of 24. It has always been my feeling that the best pictures happen close to home when photographers make image-making an integral part of their lives.

"Seeing the collection really reinforces that, and as a whole gives a unique and personal way for all of us to see our own worlds."

Founder of 24photography, Claire Spreadbury would agree: "The exhibition is going from strength to strength and now in our 10th year we've really developed an identity and feel that we're an established part of London's art calendar."

Here's a selection of those from new year 2013.

00:00 Beth Colocci

Far away from metropolitan life, time is marked with heightened awareness of the phases of the Sun and Moon. As midnight is celebrated in the UK, watching the full moon slowly rising out of the pitch-black void builds a surge of optimism. The pathway on the sea marks the promise of the new year, a road to the future.


02:00 Guy Bell

I like to shoot images that are of observed events but which can also be suggestive of another meaning. Here I was drawn by the sight of ordinary people queuing in the rain for a bus in the early hours. The party spirit has faded, times are hard and yet the people are united in anticipation.


08:00 Nicky Willcock

All my 24 pieces form a potent narrative to my life which has included loss of a parent, loss of a marriage, travel, love lost and found, success and struggle, and an ongoing attempt to control the uncontrollable - time. It is my hope that my complete 24 piece will be a universal yet personal notation of my existence, however insignificant.

Opportunity Not To Be Missed

09:00 Aleksandra Karpowicz

I love the 24 project; it is exciting to be part of the long-term collaboration, working together with other artists to bring the concept to life. Shooting, in the early morning quietness of New Year's Day in the Praga district of Warsaw, provided an mysterious setting stuck in time. I chose to present one of the many monuments of the Holy Mary that were constructed during World War II. These figures bring hope to the poor residents of Praga today, just as they did to those oppressed by war 70 years ago.

The Hope Of Warsaw

14:00 Carol Allen Storey

The 2013 theme Sign of the Times was an apt theme for photographing commuters on the New York City subway. A decade ago heads would be buried in newspapers and books, today they are buried in smart phones and iPads.


17:00 Raphael Schutzer-Weissmann

I've been involved since the start of the project and think it's great that we're having our 10th show, though a bit scary that the first show feels like yesterday. I'm really looking forward to completing the remaining 14 hours of my 24. This year my photo represents my anger and unease about the causes of austerity and the effect it's having on this country.

We're All In This Together

18:00 Helen Chambers

The end of the year is a reflective time for me. I often, find myself wondering about whether situations could have worked out, differently, or sometimes dwell on what might have been. But there are signs around us, if we want to look. Little signals to remind us about the possibilities that are still to come.


19:00 Claire Spreadbury

With so many lives affected by the floods in the UK in recent years, I wanted to capture this significant Sign of our Times. The effects can be devastating, but the new watery landscapes can be at once stunning and otherworldly. Shot at night and surrounded by water, it was a slightly unnerving experience.

Night Flood Idyll

22:00 Enrico Vietti

I joined 24 "en route" and this is my fourth participation to this exciting project. I am fascinated by the development and the evolution of 24 over the years, which are mine as well. In last year's photo I pictured our family breakfast with two mugs and two baby bottles. This year it would have been four mugs only.

Sign of the Times, this year's theme, pushed me to work around intimacy, using little dolls as silent witnesses of the passing of time.

Time Parade

The work is on show at Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London until 23 March 2013 and you can see more of the work on their website 24photography.

Phil Coomes Article written by Phil Coomes Phil Coomes Picture editor

Remembering the work of Shirley Baker

Tom Gillmor of the Mary Evans Picture Library looks back at the work of photographer Shirley Baker who died recently.

Read full article


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  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    Phil, many thanks for the coverage.

    It's great to see people's reactions to the show and to be able to respond to some of them on here. We'd encourage everyone to check out the full show in Berkeley Square or if you can't make that, to have a look on our website www.24photography.org

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Listener - These were all taken as b/w images. We didn't look at them afterwards and decide to make them b/w. That was a decision taken this year to tie in with our theme. If you don't like them, that's fine, we realise not everyone will. Thanks for caring enough to comment though, it's nice to see people's reactions to them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Green Legend - They've not been converted into b/w to make them 'art'. Most of us spent a year at Central St Martins studying photography 10 years ago. Digital wasn't so big then. Most of our time was spent in dark rooms producing b/w images. Burning, dodging, getting things just right, that sort of stuff. Oh, and why can't a road marking be art? http://photographymuseum.com/adamslg.html

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    goldengirl12 - They are indeed people trying to make their way home after watching the fireworks down by the Thames. I've seen some of the other images from the set, and if just because there's nobody with 2013 glasses on doesn't mean it's not New Year's day! Of course there's lots of people waiting, it was New Year's day! You did see the fireworks?

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    fnem - Unfortunately not all photos are shown and in context of 24 I think they do what it says on the tin. I would say that though ;-) Check out the show. We've been doing this for 10 years, so we've not suddenly discovered how to convert into b/w it was just a decision taken this year to reflect theme. But glad you were at least whelmed, and took time to comment. Must have invoked something ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Airweb - I know that's not what happened, but in essence is what the show is about. Where were you at x hour on New Year's day? What were you doing? What was going on in your life? Sometimes lives are mundane, sometimes they're beautiful. For me, this reflects how times are changing - cycling is more popular, the NY subway is lot safer than 20 years ago, and using a mobile phone. Signofthetimes

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    hw - We do shoot in colour, most years we're not restrictive, but decided on it as one of the themes this year.

    shelled-off-the-back - Ah, I remember those little stickers. But, and as you say, there's always a but, the difference is, you didn't mean it to happen. Enrico did. ;-)

    JK - I think you'll find that's what HCB described as the decisive moment! ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    Phil - a good article. Have to say there are some very striking images here

    (& certainly a better body of work than those in the article you ran on Jenny Wicks)

    Not sure about some of the commentaries on their photos but, hey its all down to personal taste.

    Well done to the group for the charity auction

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    @4. Thanks for your response. It still doesn't explain the dire quality of the B+W processing. It's quite easy to see the 'colour brigade' pushing their case when confronted with such poorly presented images. Good B+W photographs are taken with the end product in mind not just a colour shot that might look good in B+W.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    To everyone else, thanks for the comments, positive or negative. It's good to see how people react to them, and nice to be able to jump in and respond. I hope the responses come across as light-hearted, nothing is said in anger or spite, and thought people might like one of the 24's take on it all. Will try to answer more later in the day, have responses but it keeps making me wait 10mins to post!

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    SeeDubya - I like to think some of us are always pretentious, b/w or not. ;-)

    VoiceofReason - 24 hours. 24 photographers. 24 images. 24 years. That's all you need to explain it, so while it's great we're getting the coverage it's a very simple idea. Check out the full show, and the previous years on our website www.24photography.org. And remember, it won't be finished for 14 more years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    rideforever We hope it will last for generations. Some of us have had children since we started, by the time we finish they will be adults, so we're already hitting a couple of gens to begin with. I can guarantee no teenagers here (oh, how we wish!) we're simply a collection of photographers (many prof) working on something spanning 24 years (No iPhones were used in the making of this exhibition)

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Joe Yellow -They weren't put in b/w to appear more arty and sophisticated. They're arty and sophisticated to begin with ;-) As for prices, they're limited edition prints, no more than 24 of any print. We raised almost £3,000 for charity last night at an auction after the show. If anyone buys anything after this, great! But prices tend to reflect the work, and costs involved in producing the image

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Drunken Hobo - Sorry you didn't like them, check out all 24 images and see if you feel the same? The b/w was tied to our theme, sign of the times, which some used to reflect the tough times ppl are going through. New Year is a reflective time for some folks, and that comes across occassionally in the descriptions. I feel the description in 17.00 is genuine (it's not mine) knowing the photographer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Bibermen -What should indicate the first 24 hours? Fireworks at 12am? It's a documentary project, at end of which, each of us will have a complete day across 24 years of our lives. This marks what ppl were doing the first 24 hours of 2013. I understand you find them boring, that's fine, it's provoked emotion which I guess is what it's all about. Not even all of us find every image scintillating!

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Down the back of the sofa - We think these do stand up on their own. If you get a chance to visit the exhibition in Berkeley Square, you'll see the images without the words. They're added here to try to give some context as to why the photographer took the image, but as a complete set we think they do pretty well on their own.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Woodstein1961 - This is the first year that all the images are black and white. We try to have a theme each year - Sign of the times, but we also thought that reflecting that and with talk of so much austerity that b/w might also be an interesting aspect to the project. It was a one off and no doubt we'll be back to colour next year. It was never introduced for the sake of "artiness"

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Mal, they're not supposed to be 'difficult' shots. The idea behind the project is that we (and yes, I'm from the group, thought it would be good to jump in and answer/respond to some comments) are documenting where we are during an allotted hour on New Year's Day. That's one hour sometimes with no planning, tied to a theme. The photos represent that, and we each take our own interpretation of that

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Art like love is only in the eye of the beholder; And for me? Hmm? The flooded gate is quite arty!

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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