Bid to rescue archive

Blipfoto users launch crowdfund campaign to save site

BlipfotoUsers of the troubled online daily photo journal, Blipfoto, where people chronicle their lives through one image each day, have launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy the site.

They believe that without the deal the archive of images will be lost and they have formed a Community Interest Company, Blipfuture CIC, to raise £180,000 through ShareIn.

It is thought to be the first time such a buy-out has taken place – social media users working together to save their community from closure.

Blipfoto was created in 2004 by Joe Tree and Graham Maclachlan, originally as Mr Tree’s personal diary. In 2006 they invited some friends to join the site, and it expanded rapidly by word of mouth. Along the way Blipfoto won many awards including a BAFTA and commendations from Digital Camera and Photography Week.

In January 2015 the site re-branded as Polaroid Blipfoto after negotiating a licensing agreement with the American company, but in March the company went into liquidation.

The site was bought by US based private investors from the liquidators in April and continues to operate for the moment. The future of Blipfoto and its archive of images and journals is uncertain if the crowdfunding is unsuccessful.

Blipfuture director Ian Stevenson, said: “When we were contacted back in October we knew immediately that we had to mount a bid. We’ve been working feverishly behind the scenes to put everything together for the crowdfunding launch.”

Blipfoto has a global community whose members are called “blippers”. They chronicle their lives by posting a single image each day, some adding words.

Other blippers comment on the journals. It has developed a unique worldwide community and created friendships across the world. When added together these journals create a collective human history with over 5 million days of human life recorded.

The British Library has recognised the value of Blipfoto’s contribution to recording daily life by including the site in its prestigious ‘Curators 100’ as “essential reading of our life and times”.

Blipfuture CIC will be a not-for-profit company, being formed to buy and operate Blipfoto on behalf of the community. The founders and directors are Annie Andrews, Graham Colling, Bob Hamilton and Ian Stevenson. All are dedicated blippers, and between them they have documented over 20 years of their lives on Blipfoto.

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