The easiest way to describe the Disposable Memory Project is bookcrossing meets photography. You take a photo with a disposable camera and then leave the camera somewhere to be found, used, and passed on by and to others. When all the film has been exposed, it can be developed and the story of the camera's journey can be told.
Of course, it isn't quite as simple as just buying a camera and leaving it somewhere. Nearly, but not quite. Before you release a camera into the big bad world, you give it a unique serial number, obtained from the Disposable Memory Project website, and print off a set of instructions that will accompany it on its journey. This way, the camera can be tracked as it makes its way across oceans and over deserts, and people know where to send it when the film is all used.
The project was the brainchild of Matthew Knight, who dreamed it up standing, I kid you not, in a dry cleaners waiting to collect a suit back in 2008. Three years on and over 350 cameras have been sent on their intrepid ways and just over 30 have made it back home. They've been via the South Pole, the Gambia, and Everest's Base Camp. They've travelled over 440,000 miles, which is the equivalent of to the moon and back. And if the project could get a camera to the moon, they'd love it!
The plan is to keep the project, which has had over 1,600 people take part in it, going for as long as possible; for as long as disposable cameras continue to be made, film is readily developed, and random people are happy to take a few photos with a randomly discovered camera. Kodak has just contributed a few (like 150) cameras to the cause, so they should be okay for a little while.
If you're interested in launching your own camera, or just looking at the photos on the cameras that have made it home, take a look at the Disposable Memory Project's website. And if you're the Twittering type, they're @foundacam.