Long-standing blipper, Raheny Eye (real name Nic), reflects on why he uses Blipfoto and how it has become invaluable to him, He highlights some of his favourite photos along the way, mostly taken in his home town, Dublin.
It is almost impossible to be secretive while posting a photograph a day every day for more than a decade. That said, as editor-in-chief of the story of our lives, we get to choose the way we want to remember the day just gone. As autobiographers, I have a feeling that we tend to be rather forgiving with our shortcomings when it comes to what we release into the public domain. I have posted relatively few of the truly crap moments. Strange, for someone who has thrived on scatological humour…
I have a very pragmatic approach to life. I believe that we get one shot at it and that it is no Hollywood movie. There won’t necessarily be a happy ending (endings usually aren’t…). Instead, I try and collect all the little beads of micro-happiness that are there in everyday life, if you take time to see them and appreciate them. My blip journal helps me to collect and remember these moments. My father died at the age of 44, when I was 21. It has taught me to make the most of life, at all times.
What do you enjoy about the concept of Blipfoto?
One photo a day, taken on that day. Genius! Joe Tree (founder of the original Blipfoto), created a surprisingly simple yet powerful concept. It is so easy to overshare on social media. Blipfoto teaches people to be selective. The fact that only one photo can be posted for a given day implies some sort of an editorial choice on the part of the blipper; a reflection on what made that particular image the one that would be remembered as most representative of the day.
Blipfoto is also a most unusual little corner of the world wide web in the sense that it is a genuinely nice and caring community. When all too often social media means factions of hateful people having a go at each other, blipfoto is about nurturing respectful and caring interactions. The guiding principle of being excellent to each other has lasted the test of time and it helps to make blipfoto special.
Finally, I love the fact that it is now community-owned and not for profit. I very much like the idea of organic growth and sustainability.
How would you describe your journal?
It is first and foremost a family archive. A cheeky look at what our lives were about in the second (and now third) decade of the 21st century. I did not fully realise it when I started blipping. The temptation was there at the beginning to try and post photos that would be best described as crowdpleasers.
But after a while, I realised that the hearts and stars were not a goal in themselves. Once I started using the platform genuinely as a journal rather than a photography showcase, I often opted to post photographs that may not have been as aesthetically pleasing or technically polished but that had a stronger meaning for me in terms of what I wanted to remember of that day. I love living in Dublin. I love the place and its people. Behind the jokes, and the sarcasm, and the cynicism at times, there is a great love for my city of adoption, for my country of adoption (I was born and raised in France).
How important is the journaling side to you?
It is absolutely essential. The words are always as important to me as the image. I love blipfoto as a daily writing exercise. A time to reflect on the day just gone. Those words, and keywords, enable me to find most entries that I am looking for, over a span of more than 13 years. The search feature of blipfoto is the one that I use the most – often to reminisce about some of the most embarrassing moments in parenting (and there are no shortages of these!)
What are your favourite subjects for photography and why?
People, definitely. I love to take photographs of people, street scenes. I have had many interesting conversations with people that I had just photographed. Nowadays, I don’t always stop and chat. A lot of the time, I am cycling through town to and from work and it is just not practical.
My photos are often humorous (or at least trying to be) but I do not try to ridicule people. I’m more in favour of laughing with than laughing at.
I also like to take photographs of the members of my family as they go about their everyday lives. Since I always have a camera on me or in my hands, they hardly notice it anymore. It’s great for getting candid shots.
Did you plan to tell the story of your life through your posts from the start or did it just evolve over the years?
There was no master plan when I set off on this blip journal adventure. There still isn’t. I try not to complicate things. I don’t theorise or analyse. I always have a camera on me and I shoot the things I see. Since there are almost 5,000 of these images now, a narrative has developed. And I like it. I like to look back on the old blips. They serve their purpose and remind me of the story I was trying to tell on that day, at that precise moment. They reopen my eye to what I saw back then.
It’s a wonderful feeling, especially as I am always afraid of forgetting some of the good stuff that has happened in my life, and it has been a busy, packed life. I could drop dead tomorrow and have no regrets, no postponed goals, no what-ifs, no I-should-have-when-I-coulds. This blip journal is for my kids. To remind them of their “cringe 101 dad”.
Do you see your photography and writing style as humorous or are you simply recording what you see?
It’s all about storytelling. Both with the image and the words. A lot of the time, I can hear the title of the blip in my head as I shoot it. I often have a good laugh as I write my blip. And I know which ones will give Nana a laugh, and she’ll shake her head and do that face that she does when I say something silly and totally immature but that makes her laugh. Then my work is done. I get a great buzz when people get a laugh out of my blips. Life can all too easily be depressing, with all the scaremongering and negative feelings and online pitched battles and real-life pitched battles and referenda that divide nations and elections that reward populist agendas. I find that having a laugh is a great antidote.
How has daily blipping impacted your life generally?
I see more around me, I feel more, I think more, I create more. How many websites can have that claim? How many websites can change your outlook on life, in a positive way?
What does the Blipfoto community mean to you?
It is the community that makes the magic of Blipfoto, as much as the simple concept that underpins what is essentially a celebration of life; not the life of premieres and celebs, but everyday life, the one that all too often non-blippers live without noticing.
What would you say to other blippers or people who are considering signing up?
It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You will get as much from it as you will put into it. Don’t be afraid to spend some time on it at first. Before you know it, blip after blip after blip, you’ll realise that you are recording your life and that it feels good to be able to look back on it with clarity. You’ll realise that it is priceless. Then you’ll perhaps come to agree that it is worth chipping in and help pay for the servers and storage space. It is after all your life.
Blipfoto is a unique online photo journal that encourages everyone to document their life with just one photo taken on the day, every day. It is funded through member subscription, but allows people to join in for free.