One Day in Missoula: Part I 

31 photographers. 24 hours. One city.

Every week, the Missoula Independent sets itself to the task of providing our community with a picture of itself. The image comes together slowly, in pieces, one article at a time. Sometimes, the result is disagreeable. Other times, just unexpected. But always, it’s a thoroughly suitable likeness.

Once a year, we decide to take that mission a little more literally. Rather than parsing out information, insight and analysis in words, we profile our community in pictures, in the hopes of capturing the everyday richness and complexity that comes with life in Missoula. This year, it was Wednesday, May 16, when 31 of Missoula’s top photographers set out to document a single day of the Garden City on film. From midnight to midnight, the photographers drove, biked and walked the streets, alleys and hallways of the city in a quest to bring back a photographic slice of life.

The shooters taking part in the project—our sixth “One Day in Missoula” documentary—came from backgrounds as diverse as the scenes they shot, ranging from local artists with the day off to photography students from Stevensville High School to an Arlee resident who came to town for the day. Together, they brought back the bacon from a pork processing plant, harvested images at community gardens, and found a small bit of peace on Waterworks Hill. Seen together as a kind of mosaic, the images they have captured create a portrait of western Montana that is by turns eclectic and affectionate, trapping for an instant what it means to live here, if only for a day.

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