RICK SMOLAN – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Rick Smolan is a former Time, Life and National Geographic photographer best know as the creator of the “Day in The Life” Series and “America 24/7” series. As CEO of Against All Odds Productions, Smolan’s projects focus on capturing the human face of emerging topics and specialize in the design and execution of large-scale crowd-sourced global projects that combine compelling storytelling with state-of-the-art technology. To produce these projects Smolan invites teams of leading journalists (plus hundreds of thousands of members of the general public) to come together for a day or a week to focus on emerging topics like the global water crisis, the effect of the Internet on civilization, or how the human race is learning to heal itself, etc. His projects result in best selling illustrated books, TV specials, Apps, exhibits and hundreds of millions of media impressions.
Many of his books have been New York Times best-sellers and have been featured on the covers of Time, Newsweek, Fortune and U.S. News and World Report. He has sold more than five million books; titles include America at Home, UK at Home, 24 Hours in Cyberspace, The Power to Heal, Passage to Vietnam, One Digital Day, and From Alice to Ocean.
Fortune magazine describes Smolan’s company, Against All Odds as “One of the 25 Coolest Companies in America.” Smolan’s projects include:
“The Obama Time Capsule”: Spanning a three-year period from the tumultuous campaign, through Obama’s first 100 days. Unlike any book ever produced before, THE OBAMA TIME CAPSULE offers readers a unique feature: by answering a few questions and uploading their own photos to the project website, each copy of the book integrates each readers’ photos and stories into an historic and collectible time capsule. The book includes the work of more than 140 of the world’s leading photojournalists plus commentary from Arianna Huffington, Joe Klein, General Colin Powell.
“Blue Planet Run: The Race to Provide Clean Drinking Water to the World” provided readers with an extraordinary look at the water problems facing humanity and some of the hopeful solutions being pursued by large and small companies, by entrepreneurs and activists, and by nongovernmental organizations and foundations. The book recently won the “Outstanding Book of the Year IPPY Gold Award” (Independent Publisher Book Award) in the category of “Most Likely to Save the Planet” and also won the Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Award for the Nature/Environment category.
“AMERICA AT HOME” and “UK AT HOME” were published in April 2008. For these books, 150 of the world’s top photojournalists—and tens of thousands of amateur shutterbugs—fanned out around the United States and the United Kingdom to shoot digital photos of the most important place in their lives: home.. AMERICA AT HOME and UK AT HOME were sponsored by IKEA.
“AMERICA 24/7” was the largest photographic event in U.S. history. Smolan sent 1,000 top photojournalists (including 36 Pulitzer Prize winners) across the United States for a week to create an extraordinary snapshot of American life. 25,000 stringers, students and amateurs also submitted images to the project website. “AMERICA 24/7” hit #5 on the New York Times best seller lists. More than 21% of book buyers made custom covers featuring photos of their families, friends and pets.
“One Digital Day: How the Microchip is Changing Our World” was published in June 1998 in conjunction with the celebration of Intel’s 30th anniversary. No invention in history has spread so quickly throughout the world, or revolutionized so many aspects of human existence, as the microchip. Little more than a quarter century since its invention, there are now nearly 15 billion microchips in use worldwide—the equivalent of two powerful computers for every man, woman, and child on the planet.
24 Hours in Cyberspace: Painting on the Walls of the Digital Cave: One of Smolan’s more famous projects is 24 Hours in Cyberspace. Held online on February 8, 1996 it was “the largest one-day online event” up to that date. “The project brought together the world’s top photographers, editors, programmers, and interactive designers to create a digital time capsule of online life. A photographic exhibition was unveiled at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History on 23 January 1997, featuring 70 photos from the project. It was introduced by then Vice President Al Gore.
“Passage to Vietnam: Through the Eyes of 70 Photographers” Seventy award-winning photojournalists with unprecedented access to every corner of Vietnam created an intimate portrait of the country, 20 years after the war’s end. The project resulted in both a large-format illustrated book as well as an award winning CD-ROM described by The New York Times as “the most beautiful CD-ROM ever.”
“From Alice to Ocean”: Based on a National Geographic cover story that Smolan photographed about Robyn Davidson, an young Australian woman who traveled solo across the Australia outback accompanied only by camels. Her adventure is considered one of the five most memorable stories in National Geographic’s 125- year history. Davidson narrative of her trip, “Tracks” became a classic, with more than 500,000 copies sold in 11 languages. The book was just turned into a film by the Oscar Winning producers of “The Kings Speech”. In the film Robyn is played by the young Australian actress, Mia Wasikowska, and Rick’s character is played by Adam Driver, best known as Lena Durham’s boyfriend in the HBO series “Girls”. TRACKS just premiered to glowing reviews at the recent Venice, Telluride and Toronto Film festivals and was be released by the Weinstein Brothers summer 2014.