“is it your job or something?”

  posh wash 
  Originally uploaded by robinhamman

For a long time I’ve been using my cameraphone to take and upload photos, via zonetag or shozu, to flickr where I’m just days away from posting my 2000th photo.

Many of my photos are of mundane, everyday things like train stations I pass through when traveling to a conference or to give a presentation, my dinner, or my washing spinning ’round at the local launderette after my washer packed in last week.

I tend not to think of it as in any way odd – it’s one of the many ways that I try to keep my friends updated on where I am and what I’m doing – but every so often I realise that I’m one of a small, but growing, number of serial documenters.

Today I went to get groceries (44 items, according to the receipt) and, coincidentally, the same woman was working behind the till as last week when I’d done my weekly shop. I’ve recently been doing my weekly grocery shop at different chains and trying to keep track of how much I’ve spent at each for comparison  (if you’re interested, Waitrose was £147 whilst Morrisons was £97, with Tesco and Sainsbury in between).

As I finished unloading my trolley full of groceries, a mid-week top-up rather than the weekly shop, the woman behind the till paused and asked, "do you want to take a photo… like last time?".  I apologetically explained that today’s wasn’t my weekly shop. She then asked "Is it your job to do it?" to which I only had the reply, "no, I’m just sort of doing it for fun.  It’s my latest project and I post them on the internet." She sounded dejected so I added "at least I didn’t take your photo and post it on the internet". She nodded, "that’s true".

Well, it is sort of my job to experiment with different social media tools and services but this served as a reminder that not everyone embraces them as enthusiastically as I have. Nor does everyone take photos of their groceries and upload them to flickr for comment. Thankfully, some might add.


  1. I hear you here Robin… I do much the same. I think this signifies that you, and I, have the kind of DNA that screams at us to document history. The fact that we’re not documenting events in Kenya or Congo is neither here nor there, it’s what’s around you and more often than not it’s not bloodshed, but bus tickets, streelights and train stations.
    Sometimes seemingly insignificant stuff can have value. It’s the noticing it and the documenting it that makes the difference. I think this is a journalistic skill that can’t be learned. I think I’ve even applied it to the toad.
    Shouldn’t every blog savvy parent document their kids drawings?

  2. I hear you too. Do you ever wonder if you’re spending a disproportionate amount of your time documenting what you’re doing, rather than just doing it?

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