App to store old family photos launched

Family wedding in Outer Hebrides Image copyright Donna Fallows
Image caption One user is charting her family history in the Outer Hebrides

A smartphone app that allows people to upload, store and share their old photographs has been launched by two British entrepreneurs.

The founders hope that the Clixta app can act both as a place where families or other groups can share old photos privately and as a public archive for British social history.

They are working with foundation the Copyright Hub to ensure that each photograph has a digital identifier.

The app will be free initially.

Image copyright Neil Wilson
Image caption The archive could chart British social history such as these men from the Consett Iron Company

The idea was formed when Dean Newsome and Shaun Cutler - who describe themselves as middle-aged dads rather than typical entrepreneurs - started talking by the side of a football pitch in Morpeth, Northumberland.

"I was in the process of digitising old photos for my in-laws and we realised that there was no place to share these on a large scale," said Mr Cutler.

Image copyright The Kane Gang
Image caption The Kane Gang, a 1980s soul band, has posted previously unseen photos on the app

"We treasure our old photographs and the memories that go with them but we are in real danger of the photos that are gathering dust in the attic or under the bed getting lost forever," he added.

Users can upload photos either by scanning them or by taking a photo with their smartphone. They can choose whether to share them publicly or limit the images to a specified group.

The duo behind the app hope that people will share at least some of their photos publicly.

"I envisage a day when historians and educational institutions can use it, for example, to chart a high street going back over decades," said Mr Newsome.

Image copyright Northumberland National Park
Image caption Photos charting the history of Northumberland National Park are being collected

Andrew Mitchell, a social media officer at Northumberland National Park, is using the app to chart changes in the history of the park

"We are celebrating our 60th anniversary and I read about the app and thought it would be a good fit. We had lots of people telling us that they had pictures but had no way of getting them to us. For us it is a way to see how the park has changed."

Image copyright John MacMillan
Image caption Some are using the site to find out which side of their family relatives belong

"We can do this on Instagram or other social media but there is a lot of digital detritus on there and this allows people to focus on something specific."

A trial version of the Clixta app has been used by around 300 users and is now available to the wider public via Android's Google Play store and Apple's iTunes.

Once it has established its user base, the founders said they may introduce subscriptions.

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