Earlier this year, as the world watched tens of thousands of protesters pour into the streets of Egypt, Jigar Mehta noticed something: Many of the people in the crowds were also holding cameras. “Holy crap, people have probably been recording something over the last few days,” he told himself. Mehta, a former New York Times video journalist, saw an untapped wealth of raw footage from the protests. He wanted to collect them and turn them into something bigger.
Mehta hashtagged his project#18DaysInEgypt, and sent out a call to action on Twitter, Facebook, and various email listserves. He asked people in Egypt to tag their videos and photos from the protests, and to catalog and reflect on their experiences. “All the footage is important to someone,” he told me later. “What I want to know is why they chose to film at that moment.”