Typically when the Quantified Self-er talks about using photography and image capture for self-tracking they’re talking about taking pictures of their food. Pictures are a very powerful way to capture information for better understanding, you know, they are worth a thousand words. On the blog here we’ve also highlighted a few really interesting projects that take the idea of using visual images for tracking and decided to turn the lens around such as Jeff Harris and his 13 years of self portraits.
One of the projects that I found super interesting was LifeSlice by Stan James.
For those of you who want to try LifeSlice Stan has put the code online for you to use and possibly tinker with. As a new user I can say that it is pretty interesting to see how my facial characteristics map to what I’m doing on the computer. For examples here’s me looking at a new statistical software package for mac (Wizard).
And here’s me writing this post while listening at a conference on health data.
The last project I want to highlight here is the self-portrait project of Noah Kalina. Noah is a photographer who has been taking self portraits every day for 12.5 years (January 11, 2000 – June 20, 2012). A few months ago he put all 4514 images together into one amazingly insightful video.
Than Tibbetts was so intrigued by this project he decided to work some fancy image processing magic to find out what “Average Noah” looked like and found this:
I’m sure there are more projects out there that involve individuals turning the camera on themselves. We all have cameras with us in our pockets and on our computers. How are you using those image capture technologies to better understand yourself? If you’re working on something interesting let us know!
Last December, Stan James started to wonder how much of every day he spent staring at glowing rectangles, and how he was spending that time. He set up his webcam to take a picture of himself every hour, as well as a screenshot of what he’s working on. In the video below, Stan talks about how he set up his project, shows some of his data, and reveals some interesting tidbits about his learnings. (Filmed by the Bay Area QS Show&Tell meetup group.)
What if you had a movie of your life that was made from a stream of pictures taken one every thirty seconds? Glenn Wolters and Jeroen Bos have built an iPhone app called Lifelapse to do this. They developed it as a school project. I noticed Joost Plattel using it at the recent QS conference – he showed me his entire bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge as a powerful visual story in less than a minute. (Filmed at the Quantified Self Show&Tell meetup in Amsterdam at Mediamatic)
A lifelog, or lifeblog, is an attempt to fully document every second, every action, every interaction, every keystroke, every conversation of one’s life. In this sense it is quantitative as it accumulates data about a person’s daily activities. But among lifeloggers there is a subgroup of photo lifeloggers who are merely content to photographicly record their life in detail. There are many photologgers who take a portrait of themselves everyday.
One of the longest running of these daily guys, JK, now has a daily 8-year series of himself. He recently turned that series into a wonderful and mesmerizing timelapse animation.
This fellow JK also maintains a list of other maniacal photologgers here. Daily portraits seem to be a big thing in Germany. Some like to keep the photo constant from day to day in an almost clinical uniformity. Others are committed to dressing themselves up to maximize diversity from day to day. But the obsessive nature needed to maintain anything daily for years shows up in a few really obsessive photologgers. One guy takes a picture of whatever is in his right hand for the first time that day. Here is an excerpt from part of his day on December 6, 2007.
It’s an odd collection only because its trouble to take it. Someday when cameras will film our lives 24/7, this degree of documentation won’t be freakish.