A million photos which changed
my life, one day at a time
20th May 2011 by Joe
It's 2,401 days since I posted the first ever Blipfoto entry. It was an unremarkable photograph taken on the way to work on an unremarkable autumn morning. As I kicked my way through piles of fallen leaves, I had no idea the photo I took would come to represent the start of a truly remarkable journey. A journey which has charted every change in my life and, in return, completely changed it.
Last month the one millionth Blip was uploaded, making my own journal an even smaller speck in an ever-expanding universe. I'll reveal who uploaded that momentous entry in a minute, but first you'll have to indulge me in a nostalgic recap on what that journey's meant for me, through ten photos.
Expecting to quickly bore of taking a picture every day, at first I didn't tell anyone Blipfoto existed. Two weeks later I found myself utterly hooked, and cautiously shared a link to my new website with a few friends.
I'll admit I was nervous about opening the door, but as it turned out it was a bit like moving into a big house with 15 of your friends - everything suddenly became 100 times more fun. They told their friends, and they told theirs. And before I knew it, we were building a bigger house.
Less than five months after we'd given birth to Blipfoto, Layla delivered our beautiful daughter, Bella. My journal took on a whole new meaning and importance, as a way to record this new life. She's four now, and that record becomes more and more precious as the years pass. I know I'll do everything in my power to make sure it's still there when she has kids of her own.
4. Grey day
Sometimes it's just as important to mark the more somber moments in life. A couple of hours after taking this photo we learned that a very close friend's husband had died. He was a ripe old 38 years of age. The words I wrote were a note to myself, under an unwittingly apt photo which always reminds me of the emotions on that day.
One saturday afternoon while walking past a music shop, I took a notion to buy a ukulele. By the power of Blipfoto, I found a bunch of other people who'd had similar notions. We formed a band, and we called it Blipalele. And we rocked. (As I wrote that, I felt my fellow band members scorning me from afar, for having still not released our follow-up number two years later. Perhaps the second half of the story will go some way towards explaining why...)
Four years of my life now existed on Blip, and Bella was growing almost as fast as the community. It wasn't my idea to celebrate and mark Blip anniversaries in an epic way; by now I was just joining in. These unforeseen customs are one of the things I love most about this place, and proof that it quickly became a proper society.
Another unforeseen thing was Blip bringing people together. People who shared one simple thing: a passion for recording everyday life, one photo at a time. Seeing this particular meet up really moved me, and made me realise the love and devotion we'd put into the website and community meant a huge amount to people right around the world.
8. The Bafta
OK, so it's not a photo, but I did take one while on stage. And another afterwards of me and my new pal Bobby flashing our Baftas. Great fun, but also a real turning point for everyone who'd worked so hard on Blip. We knew we'd built an amazing thing, but to be acknowledged at such a high level was mind blowing. I think it was on the bus on the way home that night (oh, the glamour) that Graham and I decided we had to pursue our dream - to work full time on Blip.
9. Channel 4
This was one of life's "how did we get here?" moments (not, I hasten to add, because I'd got us totally lost an hour earlier). We'd been working with and getting tons of support from Channel Four Television for a while before this, but arriving at their HQ in London to announce the Unstaged winners put it all in perspective. The relationship continues, and many more exciting things are going to come out of it as it develops (including one early next week - watch this space).
In December, we were finally able to announce that the dream we'd decided to chase a year earlier had come true. With the support of a small group of funders who recognise what a special place Blipfoto is, we've been able to dedicated ourselves completely and fill two more seats around that table. Six months in, it's been everything I imagined, and more - more hard work than I dared imagine, but much more rewarding too.
The future's bright, the future's grey...
So, how's about I shut up now and tell you about that millionth image?
Honestly, I couldn't have picked a better entry or contributor to sum up everything which is so valuable about keeping a Blip journal. It's a fleeting moment in time, something which without Blip might pass unnoticed and unrecorded. But like every other entry in her wonderful journal, it will always remind Katie's mum of that moment and everything which happened around it. And it will always be there to share some of that with the rest of us.
So well done, Katie's mum, and thanks for being a part of the journey that's brought us here. As you may already know, our friends at Olympus Cameras were so blown away by the whole thing that they offered a fabulous Pen E-PL1 to the contributor of the magic millionth. We'll be in touch to make sure it finds its way to you as quickly as possible.
Oh, and you might notice a few wee changes to the page layout on that entry... and a little icon which is going to stick with you for a while... and that you've been upgraded to a Lifetime Membership, meaning you'll be a Blipfoto full member forever more.
(Speaking of membership, if you've fallen for Blipfoto but haven't already upgraded, you'd be doing the whole community a favour by considering doing so. You'd also be helping keep the site free of those horrible ads you see everywhere else.)
Now, I'd better start working out what to do for the two millionth. That's going to come around a whole lot quicker...