Blipfoto: A new return to the beginning of photography

Forrest, E., Hall, H. (2015, June). Blipfoto: A new return to the beginning of photography. Paper presented at International Visual Sociology Association Annual Conference 2015, Tinos, Greece.


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Abstract

‘What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end, is to make a beginning .
The end is where we start from”
TS Eliot, Little Gidding

If, on TS Eliot’s suggestion in Little Gidding, you come any way into photography, it seems inevitable that there will always be an eventual return to where you began. Everyone has a different place from where they start their own journey into the photographic. For many their introduction is posing for photographs then sitting down, thumbing through old albums. In the digital era, the touching of paper has now shifted to scrolling on screens. We must go back further than paper, to find our beginnings when discussions turn to old ways of seeing. Stories that often accompany physical and digital photographs connect to other oral/visual traditions, and return us to pictures drawn in the sand and painted on coarse-textured cave walls. In the era of wild enthusiasm for photographic image taking and making, the visual turn continues on, unabated. Whilst there are many photography sites that encourage and facilitate varied practices in different ways, Blipfoto is particularly of interest when examining old and new ways of seeing. Using in-depth conversations with its members we explore the blend of old practices and new technologies that make the site unique. The policy of only one upload per day, funding by membership subscription rather than advertising and the encouragement of members to accompany their photographs with text, is a return to the beginning of an older era where photographs were singular and curated. Blipfoto has the feel of an analogue, paper place within a wholly digital space.

Reference:
Eliot, TS (1989) Collected Poems, London, Faber and Faber
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Authors

Hazel Hall
Director of CSI
h.hall@napier.ac.uk
+44 131 455 2760

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