Carry On Blipping

I was interested to find a paper this week from blippers Fotomatikus and EveF about Blipfoto and it's place in everyday routines, and it made me think about why I blip on a daily basis.  It was particularly interesting coming just at the point when I had decided to sign up for life membership of Blipfoto.

Most Viewed Image
My photo-a-day habit predates my membership of Blipfoto by several years.  In October 2004 Joe Tree had the bright idea of setting up a website to record (and share) a daily photo – this became Blipfoto. I had a similar idea a few weeks later when I bought my first digital camera in November 2004.  My solution was to set up a blog where I could share my pictures for a year starting on 1st January 2005.  In fact I got impatient for the project to begin so started on 24th December 2004 by talking a photo from my office window at the Open University in Milton Keynes. I subsequently added a few scanned film and digital images from earlier in 2004.  My online photo-a-day project lasted as I had intended until 31st December 2005, and at that point I stopped taking and posting a photograph each day, but I didn't stop taking pictures. Having got into the photo-a-day habit I just kept going, and I have just kept going.  In 2010 friend and blipper CathrynG encouraged me to join Blipfoto, and on 28th July 2010 I shared my first blip (and 2043 photo-of-the-day).  As of yesterday, I've managed a continuous run of 3382 images since 24th December 2004.

So why blip? I'm using this as short-hand for taking and sharing a picture each day.

The Stuff of Dreams
My initial idea was to become a better photographer, and more critically become more observant about photographic opportunities around me.  Always having a camera to hand becomes second nature, occasionally that means just my phone, but more often it means I make sure that I've got a ‘real’ camera somewhere in a pocket or bag or the boot of the car.  The requirement to take a photo each day means that there is a sense of worry until you’ve got one image for the day.  The need to find a ‘decent’ photo each day also ensures I get away from my desk for at least a few minutes, and when life is busy that's probably no bad thing.  This doesn't mean that there aren't days when emergency blips are needed.  I have a recurring dream of seeing a clock tick round to mid-night and struggling to take a picture before the second hand reaches the top of the dial (it’s always an analog clock in the dream). I guess there are worse recurring dreams.

Aside from becoming a better (or at least more observant) photographer, there are two other reasons for blipping.

The first one is personal. Over the years the images, and in some cases the commentary, become a rich personal diary.  If I'm asked about a particular day I will more often than not refer to the image from that day to jog my memory.  The image may well tell me where in the world I was and what I was doing, but more than that the mood of the image (or words) may remind me what sort of day I was having.  I've never been successful at keeping going with a traditional diary (although I do keep a travel journal when I'm away from Oxford), but an image-based journal seems to work for me.

Most 'Favourited' Image
The final reason for keeping going is social.

Blip provides a platform for sharing pictures with other people. The one image a day model keeps the playing field level.  On platforms like flickr or twitter, which have no restrictions, quiet voices get flooded out. Yes, I have unfollowed people on twitter just because they tweeted too much, drowning out the other voices in the stream.

Within my Blip community there are a number of people whose images I look forward to seeing each day.  Some live in interesting places, others have interesting lives and others are just good photographers.  A few manage to score on all three counts.  There are people I follow on Blipfoto who I've never met, but who I feel I know well, and I definitely appreciate the interaction, feedback and discussion from those who look at my photograph each day.  And if someone I follow stops blipping without warning, I do worry about why.

I have no plans to give up blipping. If you’re passing, do drop in and see what I’m doing.

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