I got my first approach to "have a look at a free thing that would normally cost money because I am a blogger" a couple of weeks ago. I've been umming and ahhing about it ever since.
"What would I do if it was shit?" was my main thought. That and "how do I gently tell another person who has taken time out to find me, get in touch and spend money sending me stuff that I didn't really want to do anything with it?". I get that brush-off from journalists all the time. But when it's you, it's a bit different, somehow.
Thankfully, the thing that I was sent was actually quite good. So, with that disclaimer about getting it for free out of the way, I can recommend UK At Home ... both conceptually as a campaign and practically as a lovely thing to own.
UK At Home (and its sister title, America At Home) is a book of photography, some of it taken in a "single seven-day period by fifty of the UK's top photojournalists" and a whole lot of amateurs who submitted their shots for inclusion. On top of that, it has some lovely articles and think-pieces by Alexander McCall Smith, Alain de Botton, Blake Morrison, Jeanette Winterson and Will Self, amongst others.
The whole thing was created by Rick Smolan (snapper) and Jennifer Erwitt (project director) at Against All Odds Productions. And it is genuinely lovely, as some of the piccies below show ...
So far, so lovely. But then there is a cunning twist to the whole thing which is the range of sponsors and partners that they have brought in. So Snapfish/HP are in there, as is Google and Facebook.
But the killer idea is IKEA's. They have helped "support" the project with cash (clearly). But then they have also created a sponsored "make your own cover" thingy, which enables people to upload their own photos which they can place on a custom cover.
A really lovely idea that adds some value to the whole experience, rather than simply sticking a brand name on a book that would somehow devalue it a wee bit. Cracking stuff.
... So that was it, really. Do take a look at the various sites and the piccies and, if you're feeling generous, buy the book. I can honestly say that while I got mine for free, now that I've seen it and shown it around a bit, I'd have happily paid for it too.
Copyright bits: more about each here.
piccie 1: © 2008 Caro Swan
piccie 2: © 2008 Charlie Gray
piccie 3: © 2008 Stuart Freedman