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Visual

Day by Day

Four years and counting

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

If anyone wants to know what Bellingham artist Ann Chaikin has been up to for the past 1,500 days—and counting—there’s an easy way to find out.

More than four years ago, Chaikin, 71, signed up for a photo blogging platform called Blipfoto that allowed her to post daily images to share with the viewing public. Along with a pick that’s chosen from among the photographs she takes with one of her four cameras each day, Chaikin also takes advantage of the site’s journaling capabilities.

So, in addition to viewing Chaikin’s (mostly) Whatcom County-based worldview, those who peruse the site can also find out what inspired the shot—or what’s happening in her life each day that deserves mention, whether it’s planning a trip to Las Vegas, commenting on the beauty of the place she lives, or sharing worries about an upcoming doctor’s appointment.

“I have moved away from ‘today I did this’ to talking about more subjects and expressing my feelings and opinions about things,” Chaikin says. “Some days I don’t even mention my daily activities. I do always, or almost always, say something to go along with the photos.”

Blipfoto’s Raquel Gella says the site was started 10 years ago by a man named Joe Tree who spent a few hours one Sunday afternoon building a simple website that allowed him to publish one photo a day on the internet and write something about it. Gradually, he built up a loyal following of viewers, and eventually expanded the site so that others could do the same thing, as well. Now, Blipfoto delivers more than 18 million monthly views to visitors in more than 175 countries.

“Blipfoto gives you a unique and original way to save your life: rather than just being another screen to consume passively like other social networks, Blip gives people a shared purpose, something constructive to do which leaves a history,” Gella says. “By taking just one photo a day and sharing it on Blip, you are keeping a record of your life, remembering something important you don’t want to forget as time goes by.”

While most people don’t stick with the project for as long as Chaikin has, others are in it for the long haul. For her part, Chaikin—who’s also an active painter—says she’ll continue to contribute to Blipfoto for as long as it keeps her inspired and growing as a photographer.

“I didn’t expect my photography skills to change because of Blipfoto,” Chaikin says. “Boy, was I wrong! Especially in the last year, my photography has gotten better and better. I am more able to find subjects. I’m quicker at processing. And almost every day I am able to come up with a high-quality photograph. I’ve learned a great deal about how to process and create what I want, and I’ve gotten more streamlined at doing that. Also, I am much more experimental than I ever was before, and freer and more open to trying new things.”

Chaikin also points out that being a part of Blipfoto keeps her on the lookout for interesting subject matter, and that it’s deepened her interest in the natural world. During difficult times, it also helps keep her grounded, present and consistently creative.

When it’s pointed out that 1,500 days of taking pictures might make it difficult to come up with additional images, Chaikin points out that’s not the case, not at all.

“I would guess that more than 90 percent of my photos are from an area within a couple of miles of where I live,” Chaikin says. “I find subjects by keeping my eyes open all the time and watching for something of interest. You’d be amazed how much there is to photograph if you just look.”

To see Chaikin’s 1,500-plus photos, go to http://www.blipfoto.com/ArtistAnnie

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