Everyday, everywhere, nothing extraordinary is happening. Daily life, in all its mundaneness, is carrying on as usual. Halfway around the globe, the exact same thing you might see as you are walking down a street in your hometown is happening in someone else's hometown.

And yet we have rarely seen those moments in so many places reported on in documentary photography. In the U.S., the visual exposure we often have to non-Western European nations has often been delivered in the form of very distinct, very dramatic, very foreign, and sometimes incomprehensible images. And while they are extremely important photos in their own right, they tell a specific story – and not one that captures a country or continent as a whole.

It was for this reason that photographers Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill started Everyday Africa, first a Tumblr and now an incredibly popular Instagram account that documents daily life in Africa. DiCampo first had the idea while on assignment in 2012.

"I was in an elevator going to get our press passes," he says, "and I saw this scene: a mirror, a bunch of guys in suits and a symmetry created by the mirror, and I thought, 'I want to take a picture of this moment but I don't want to pull out my big camera and jeopardize getting the press pass [I was on my way to get].' So I just lifted the phone and shot it. And somewhere in the course of that day, I thought more about it and thought: We should shoot photos of everyday life here because we never see them."

An elevator in a government building in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on March 1st, 2012. Photo by Peter.

View on Instagram

Photo by Peter DiCampo

Merrill, then the Associated Press contact for Africa, echoes DiCampo's sentiments.

"The country was in a difficult transition period, and it was by no means clear how things would turn out," he says. "Still, despite the import of the story we were there to report and photograph, it was frustrating to feel like we were helping perpetuate the stereotype that Africa is nothing but a place of full of problems. Having spent more than four years in Ivory Coast…stories of conflict and helplessness were not representative of the place that I knew. The place that I knew was one where people's lives were almost always filled with normality – the kinds of things that fill our lives in America. People go to work, they go to school, they hang out with friends and family, they cook, they watch television, they work on their yard and house– those are the things that I always think of when I think of Ivory Coast and the 20-odd other countries I've been to in Africa."

So, he and DiCampo (both served as Peace Corps volunteers in Africa) then launched a blog and quickly an Instragram account, realizing the broader and more immediate impact Instagram could have, and began shooting any time they found themselves in Africa.

After starting their Instagram account, they took on a few contributors and began to grow their coverage. Ghana native and photographer, Nana Kofi Acquah, joined the group in the hopes of changing how Africa is understood by the rest of the world.

"The dominant imagery of Africa is famine, war, poverty, death, disease, bare breasted women, child soldiers and rebels," says Acquah. "As someone who lives on the continent, I know that these representations don't reflect the everyday lives of the majority of the people on the continent; and was happy to be able to add my voice to the conversation."

A lobster and shrimp fisherman busy at work on the Volta River. Photo by Nana Kofi Acquah @nanakofiacquah #ghtog #Ghana #Africa

View on Instagram

Photo by Nana Kofi Acquah

The 'Everyday movement' has now spread across the globe, with Instagram accounts (not started by Merrill or DiCampo) popping up for Asia, Egypt, Iran, Jamaica, Latin America, and several others.

National Geographic photographer David Guttenfelder, founder of Everyday USA, says he decided to start the account in an effort to expand into the US what DiCampo and Merrill (and Everyday Africa) had been doing: "Everyday Africa has been a really honest, really great public service. I lived in Africa for a long time and felt like photographers always covered only the violence," he says, "so their whole idea of challenging stereotypes and showing a different image of Africa was tremendously important."

Guttenfelder, who recently returned to the U.S. after living abroad for years (he famously provided extraordinary coverage from North Korea via Instagram), started the account upon his recent return to the States.

"Instagram has become such an important part of my overall work," says Guttenfelder. "A little more than a year ago, I was in North Korea and registered the Everday USA, (and Everyday North Korea, and Everyday DPRK) account name as a placeholder. When I was in North Korea, I was kind of doing what Everday Africa was doing, in that I was providing a glimpse into this part of the world that had been (and still is in most respects) off limits. When I moved back to the States not long ago, I decided to start doing over here what I was doing in North Korea."

After the fire, he still uses the charred bathroom. Rowan, Iowa. Photo by David Guttenfelder @dguttenfelder

View on Instagram

Photo by David Guttenfelder

So Guttenfelder called a bunch of photographers doing "serious reporting work around social issues" – Ruddy Roye, Jon Lowenstein, Nina Berman, Danny Wilcox Frazier, Balazs Gardi to name a handful – and asked them to get involved.

"I wanted a range of people who could represent the diversity in different parts of the country," he said.

Artist Heather Stewart works on a mechanical lotus at American Steel Studios in West #Oakland, #California, #USA on August 6, 2014. Pulse and Bloom is an interactive #art installation that visualizes the heartbeats of participants with the hope of syncing human heartbeats in a rhythmic pattern. Composed of 25 mechanical lotuses arranged in a circular matrix shape with LED lights embedded inside each lotus, #PulseandBloom is activated when individual participants physically interact with a lotus. Each lotus is equipped with a pulse sensor that, when pressed by a participant, translates their heartbeat into flashing LED lights within the lotus. As more people begin to interact with the different lotuses, visualizing their heartbeats in flashing lights, we will begin to see the effects of each person's heartbeat on the other and the effect of meditative synchronicity unfold. Photo by @balazsgardi #americansteelstudios #burningman #everydayUSA

View on Instagram

Photo by Balazs Gardi

"Each Everyday account," says Guttenfelder, "has a unique voice to lend. What we're doing with Everyday USA seems almost the opposite to Everyday Africa, in that we're highlighting certain things in the States, because in the States we already have the 'everyday' kind of reporting in newspapers. What we're reporting on are those things people wouldn't really think are happening in the US and doing so without any constraints or any editorial bent because of Instagram. We're doing this purely because we love it and we're pushing it straight out to the world."

In recent weeks, members of 11 Everyday accounts (including Everyday Africa and Everyday USA) announced the formation of The Everyday Projects on Instagram, which they see as a way for people around the world to "use photography to enrich understanding of places, people and issues while building a global community of storytellers." You can follow along or submit via the hashtag #everydayeverywhere on Instagram and see what's happening everyday everywhere.

An employee at his desk at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare, Zimbabwe, with president Robert Mugabe's portrait looking over the scene. May 2012. Photo by @austin_merrill. #zimbabwe #harare #mugabe #hotel #elephant #safari #africa

View on Instagram

Photo by Austin Merrill


A young couple shares a quiet moment on the banks of the Irrawaddy River in the town of Myitkyina, the capital city of Kachin State in northern Myanmar. #latergram by @amcaptures for #everydayasia

View on Instagram

Photo by Andre Malerba


Hello everyone, my name is Brendan Hoffman, a new contributor to this feed. A bit about me: I'm a freelance photographer based in Moscow and Kyiv, and a co-founder of @prime_collective. This is a picture of a #dog standing atop the #transfagarasan road in the #mountains near Bâlea lake in central #romania, July 2014. Photo by @hoffmanbrendan

View on Instagram

Photo by Brendan Hoffman 

A woman helps fisherman on a boat in the Nile, Minya – Egypt photo by @m_alieddin

View on Instagram

Photo by Mohamed Ali eddin


Young men dancing in a Hana Bandan party. Hana Bandan (more frequently "Hana Bandoon") is an old Iranian pre-wedding ritual dating back to several hundred years ago. The day before the wedding the groom's family sends over the khoncheh (large wooden tray) of henna to the bride's home. Khoncheh would carry the seven brass or silver bowls of freshly prepared henna adorned with silver and gold coins surrounded by different colored lit candles. The henna designs would include the images of a sparrow, tree or a flower. Iranian henna designs are simple and not very elaborate and intricate. #Qazvin, #Iran. Photo by Hossein Mirkamali @hosseinmirkamali #everydayiran پسران جوان در حال رقصیدن در مجلس حنابندان. #قزوین، #ایران. عکاس: حسین میرکمالی

View on Instagram

Photo by Hossein Mirkamali


Photo by #Everydayjamaica contributor @ruddyroye "July 21, 2014 "Bayroute Dad" Everywhere I go in the world I am aware of the reputation that Jamaican men have sewn worldwide. Rastas, reggae mavericks, owners of the best ganja in the world, highly creative artists, possessive lovers, WENDY holders (it's a story, if you don't know ask somebody) domesticated home makers, and firm believers in siring their fair share of juveniles, just to name a few. Some of these are true, others are myths. However yesterday after showing my mother this picture she let out a long "yeeaaahhhh" of approval. "I love seeing fathers and their children," she echoed with admiration. Only a day before I was talking to a friend of mine about having children and joking about being given a jacket, ( a colloquial way to talk about taking care of a child that is not your own) and to my surprise he said, "I didn't do a DNA test when my baby was born because DNA means Daddy Not Available. I am here." I was so proud to hear him say that. I see growth and evolution here. #oggl_ig #blackportraiture #streetportrait #streetphotography #storiesfromtheothersideofparadise #makeportrait #makeportraits #igers #instamood #webstagram #sonyrx1″ #montegobay #jamaica

View on Instagram

Photo by Ruddy Roye


Una escena tranquila y tierna ocurre en medio del ambiente sombrío que se siente a menudo en los hospitales. | A quiet and tender scene unfolds amidst the somber atmosphere often felt in hospitals. photo by @janetjarman #everydaylatinamerica #mexico #chiapas #healthcare #dogs #hospital #iphoneonly #photojournalism #documentary #reportage

View on Instagram

Photo by Janet Jarman


An iranian groom looks at himself in a mirror while a newly wedded bride poses for a photographer during a #wedding photo shoot in #Tehran, #Iran on march 2014. Photo by Hanif Shoaei @HanifShoaei.

View on Instagram

Photo by Hanif Shoaei


Tomato picker. Firebaugh, CA. California's Central Valley produces about half of the nation's food. 90% of its 500,000 farm laborers are undocumented. Photo by @mattblack_blackmatt. #firebaugh #california #centralvalley

View on Instagram

Photo by Matt Black