Scotland

Art and life: Blipfoto founder Joe Tree's decade in pictures

On 21 October 2004 Joe Tree took a photo on his way to work.

He decided to tell his story through one snapshot every day. "I just thought it might be an interesting creative challenge," he says. "In all honesty, I thought I'd get bored of it after a couple of weeks," he says.

But Joe didn't get bored - nor did his followers. Fast-forward 10 years, and what started as a pet project has become a global online community.

Joe is founder of Edinburgh-based Blipfoto, a website where users document their lives daily with a single photo and a bit of text.

Image copyright Joe Tree
Image caption Saturday 30 March 2013: Joe Tree's local crofter sets fire to a field

In a social media market where quantity is often prized firmly over quality, Blipfoto took off. It now reaches half a million people every month, in 175 countries.

As the website grows, Joe keeps snapping away. He's only skipped two days in his decade-long project. Once because he forgot, and the other time because of "a little too much fun the night before".

Image copyright Joe Tree
Image caption Friday 24 June 2011: Joe catches a Red Arrows' display near his house

But Joe believes these temporary (non) blips just strengthened his resolve: "I've been a religious 'everyday-er' ever since."

Joe's daughter Bella is a frequent fixture of his photo diary. But out of every single picture, his favourite is the very first one he took of her, just after she was born.

Image copyright Joe Tree
Image caption Wednesday 6 December 2006: Joe photographs the birth of his daughter, Bella

There have been plenty of landmarks in Joe's 10-year photo diary. Winning a Bafta, meeting the Queen, or the day when he made the website a full-time concern.

But it's the little things that often make the most memorable pictures: a rainbow after a long grey day, the yawn of Joe's daughter, now aged 8, a brief encounter with a New York policeman.

Image copyright Joe Tree
Image caption Friday 17 May 2013: Joe photographs Officer Farazmand at the B&H photography shop in New York

"I didn't really want it to be about big shiny photographs," says Joe. "The whole concept of a 'blip' was just a little casual moment in time that would have otherwise been forgotten."

For Joe, Blipfoto is more than just a job. It's a way of remembering all the moments - little and big - that have made up the last decade.

Image copyright Joe Tree
Image caption Friday 8 October 2010: Bella yawns after a long week

"The strange thing is that you don't have to have taken a photo of something or even mention it in your writing to remember it," he says.

"Just marking each day with a photo creates this incredible framework for indexing all your memories."

Image copyright Joe Tree
Image caption Wednesday 11 May 2011: Bella jumps at the base of a rainbow at Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh

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