The Blipping Duo
Meet Michael (aka Cheeryoscuro) and Zillah (aka HasItsCloud) who have been blipping as a couple for over two years.
Never having to say you’re sorry
“Blipping together,” says Michael, “means never having to say you’re sorry as you loiter at the corner for the approaching bliptims (Blip Victims!) or crouch like a strange low priestess, muttering incantations, f-stop, exposure times, wing of bat... It’s all about sharing and remembering.” Zillah agrees heartily and adds that “it’s better than realizing you’ve left him halfway down the road, which used to happen! And we can spend hours browsing Blip, being antisocial together - what’s not to like?!”
As is the case with many of us, Michael discovered Blipfoto via social media. He recalls stumbling across Oldtownpaul’s Twitter account and his exchanges with LianeMS about Blip. The links to photos on Twitter led him to join. As for Zillah, she tired of being a “Blip-widow” and, with a little bit of encouragement from Earthdreamer whom she met on a trip to Edinburgh, she took the plunge and joined Blipfoto.
Michael started in his teens, inspired by a friend who had a shiny Fujica: “I took many blurry shots and waited impatiently for them to be developed back in pre-delete days.’ He recalls that there had been some kind of Brownie at home as a kid, but he has little memory of it being used though there are family photos, so someone must have been doing it. There are photos of his parents back in the 1940s taken by street photographers who snapped passing couples who sometimes bought the shots. He took many shots of his kids in the 80s (“more of the first of course”), then trailed off a bit as the years went on and life got busier. He wasn’t a daily communicant until Blip.
Apart from photos of the kids, Zillah says she really didn’t take pictures until starting Blip. “Poor Michael,” she adds, “spent quite a bit of time explaining, repeatedly, what function the aperture, shutter speed, etc, has when I got my first camera about two years ago. I still forget it most of the time, but I know which buttons and dials to fiddle with on the camera now.”
Your photographic interests?
If you’ve visited Michael’s journal, you know that people are his central interest. “I love street photography more than anything else,” he says. The spontaneity, the possibilities, the way that light, color, an expression can transform a mundane scene into something interesting and possibly worth sharing are all central components of his style.
He also likes combining shapes and colors, even though he admits to no formal visual knowledge. “So,” he adds “I trust myself more with active scenes than with abstract ones.” He likes storytelling in photos and particularly enjoys humour in photos almost as much as anything else about them. He states that “a caption can be an intrinsic part of the whole for me -- words are important.”
Zillah states that she just loves how everything stops once the camera goes up to the eye. Sounds mute, time stills, and it’s just what is in front of your eye. “The downside,” she quips, “is getting caught by a wave, or the dogs picking a fight, because you’re so engrossed in your own little world.”
Challenges in blipping?
Michael can think of nothing else in his life, beyond breathing, that he’s done so consistently for so long: over five years with no break, with his blips always taken on the day they are posted. “I like that challenge,” he adds, “it’s a bit like the magic porridge pot: you think it’s empty, but there’s still another bit, though some days it may be the scrapings of the pot. I live and work in small rural towns mostly, so candid street photography is quite an ask.”
Zillah concurs and adds “it’s just over two years for me, and a lot more scrapings!” ;)
Advice for other blippers?
“Run, while you still have a life you can call your own!” says Michael. If that’s not an option, he suggests you enjoy what you do and try to stretch your eye. One blipper he admires told him you should ask yourself why you’re taking the picture. Michael does so now and says that this technique sometimes stops him and sometimes starts him.
Zillah reflects that once you start blipping, your way of looking at things changes. You notice small detail, a wrinkle, a flight feather, a shaft of light - it’s almost a form of mindfulness. “As for advice,” she adds, “don’t get overwhelmed about keeping up with everyone, there’s only so many hours in the day!”
The best thing about Blipfoto?
Michael and Zillah both agree that the connections you make with other blippers keeps you going. “The blippers I’ve met over the time I’ve been here,” says Michael, “just online or in person, in Ireland and abroad are what is the best thing about Blipfoto.”
Another factor is the opportunity to express what your daily life is like, and, the ability to look back at things that otherwise would be long gone, from their memory for sure.
Aside from blipping together, Michael and Zillah have another connection: the library world. Michael works as a librarian in West Cork and looks after about 10 libraries in rural towns and on islands. Zillah works on a mobile library, covering most of West Cork.
Michael and Zillah live in Clonakilty, Ireland.
Cover photo: Geoff by Michael (left) and Paradise by Zillah (right)
Remarks collected by Michele (aka Alsacienne)