When a daily journal isn't
For most of us, Blipfoto is a daily affair helping us record various aspects of our lives. But some blippers have found creative ways to use Blipfoto for different purposes altogether. We thought it might be interesting to highlight two such journals: Lilyrex and Pears. [the featured image is a composite of one of Lilyrex's entries at the top and Pears' pairing at the bottom]
Lilyrex: Writing a story one blip entry at a time
Lilirex always enjoyed scribbling little stories, but had neither the time nor the patience to sit down and write ‘properly.’ As a huge fan of Alexander McCall Smith, who publishes his 'Scotland Street' series of books in daily episodes, Lilyrex wondered if it were possible to do something similar on Blipfoto. She’s quick to say that “I'm in NO way comparing myself to the genius of Professor McCall Smith but I definitely pinched his idea!”
So, she invented a character who has a much more interesting job than hers (the character is a baker and café owner) and gave her an acerbic mother (“partly based on my own tendency to be a bit sharp at times!”) and a clever cat (based on a very smart feline owned by friends). She launched her story with a July 5, 2014 entry.
She says that she tries to write each episode as a stand-alone so that anyone who catches just one can get as much out of it as the people who are following the whole story. When she writes an entry, she has no idea where it’ll go and says that her “photos never have anything to do with the subject of the blip” – something that’s also typical in her regular journal.
And yes, her followers have a hand in shaping the story. “Often,” she says, “a blipper will ask a question which sets me off down some path I hadn’t previously considered. And sometimes, they’ll come up with a much funnier scenario than my original!” While she started writing her story in the third person, she has now switched to a first person account, at the suggestion of one of her followers, so that the entries read more like “a proper Blip journal.”
Her goal is to make her readers smile: “It’s hard to know if you’re making anyone laugh, but when a blipper comments that something made them smile, it’s a huge compliment.”
Her fictional journal doesn’t have a huge number of followers, which doesn’t surprise her as she doesn’t blip every week. “But,” she says, “the ones I have are incredibly generous and pretend that they think the journal is ‘real’!”
The best thing about Blipfoto for her is the community itself: “Where else do you get invited into people’s lives in quite the same way? I love that people share their good and bad times, their holidays, their children’s achievements, their pets, their celebrations and even disasters. All life is here. And I love it.”
Lilyrex has chosen to keep her real identity and primary journal hidden for this interview and she asks her followers to preserve the mystery, but we’re sure that with a bit of sleuthing, blippers could manage to find her. Yes, that’s a challenge! ;)
Pears: Making visual connections across images
Can you blip photographs that are not your own? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’ if what you do results in an entirely new creation.
The exploration of relationships among photographs is what Lynn Roylance set to do when he created his secondary, and collaborative, Pears journal in 2012, where he pairs up images taken by different photographers, often in different geographical locations, into a new diptych that is published as a blip entry.
Lynn had seen something similar elsewhere and thought “why not on Blipfoto?” The journal has about 45 contributors from across the blip community and is now published once a week from submissions sent to Lynn.
Lynn’s approach to photography is through a fine arts filter. He first seriously started photographing in 1966 in Vietnam to document his time in Saigon then went on to obtain a formal Fine Arts degree.
In response to what he looks for in pairing images, he says that “the relationship between two images is very subjective and comes down to a feeling of what works and what doesn’t. For some images, it’s obvious; but some ‘Pears’ work because there is no visual connection.” Even as a child, he says that he’s always felt there was more than what is seen and, for him, photography serves “to see how I see and what I missed, as there is always more than what I first noticed.”
He balks when asked to highlight his favorite pairings, comparing it to asking a parent which child is a favorite! But here are some examples, including the thought process behind the ‘pearing’ of the images.
David and Sara: what is she thinking and does it have anything to do with the person behind the curtain? There is an obvious color relationship between the hair and the plant. The hidden bonus is that the left side is in the US and the right in the UK.
Thomas and Rob: here we are in France and the UK; two different countries, yet the same feeling. Did Thomas and Rob feel or approach these shots the same way? Does it matter?
Andra and Larry: again two different countries (Germany and Canada). The glue here is the tonal and reflective qualities of the shots. It just works.
Lynn says that the best thing about Blipfoto is the friends that he’s made around the world, seeing what their lives are like in their images. “Blipfoto is a great place to experiment and meet some really great people.”
Pears is open for submissions: check its profile page for instructions.
If you’ve ever had an idea for a creative approach to your journal, let these two be your inspiration and experiment! And if you come across a journal that is unconventional in its approach, let us know by dropping us a note at ‘email@example.com’
Remarks collected by Michele (aka Alsacienne)