I can’t imagine a more useful resource for discovering new photographers by state than this 50 states project (here). I recoginized quite a few names when I landed on the home page (Jeremy & Claire Weiss, Wayne Levin, Larry Schwarm, Juliana Beasley, Jesse Chehak, Naomi Harris, Shawn Records) which really helps. There seems to be a common thread among the photographers which is likely a reflection of the editor’s taste in photography and certainly helps the whole thing work because you know going in that this works for whatever project you have cooking.
I like the idea of the self assignments because that’s essentially what photo editors do when they look for photographers in magazines (assigned and completed here are the results) I’m just not sure that it works on that level because you don’t have the same limitations a magazine assignment would have. What I do like is seeing current work. I can tell a lot by looking at something just shot.