Why did the Peacock return?
Well, Peacock was the post that started it all… My first post appeared exactly 10 years ago to this day. Around that time I was mainly posting my pictures on 500px, a photo forum I hardly use anymore. The idea to have my own blog/website came about after I returned from a vacation in 2012. I originally wanted to visit Eastern Turkey and Armenia. As the border between Turkey and Armenia is closed, the only way to travel from one country to the other is via Georgia or Iran. I mapped out a round trip that should have taken me via Georgia to Armenia and back to Turkey via Iran. However, when I was in Batumi I found out that it would take a long time to go to Armenia via bus or train and I didn’t have enough time to do that. I went back to Turkey and travelled southward. When I came to Doğubeyazıt close to the Iranian border I decided to use my visa and at least travel to Tabriz in Iran.
At that time I was working for a US company and my boss found it very exiting that I went to Iran and asked me to write about my experiences for our company blog. So I wrote about my journey and handed in my blog post. However, the marketing department responsible for the blog didn’t want to publish it because they were afraid that some of our clients might be displeased. Further I was told I could use the post for my own blog.
My own blog?
I didn’t have a blog!
So I pondered about blogging for some time and thought why not try to become a blogger. I decided that I could post some of my pictures and also some articles about travel, photography, art and similar subjects. And so, my photograph of the peacock appeared on the web. A Short Trip to Iran appeared a day later.
Looking at my stats, the story about my trip was the second most visited post that year.
My most visited post was Everything’s Gone Green. Back then I did my montages by layering pictures and deleting some colours of the top layers so the other layers would be visible. Well, at that time these montages had already become a little bit more complex and I cut out some elements and used a lot of layers.
As chameleons are masters of masking themselves, I decided to “unmask” my Coloured Chameleon. You seem to have liked the picture, so it became the third most visited picture in 2013.
In 2014, one of my posts with text made it to number one: Hasankeyf: A City on the Edge of Disappearing. Hasankeyf was a town in South Eastern Turkey. I wrote “was” because the original town was submerged under a water reservoir after the construction of a dam at the River Tigris. Though some of the old buildings were saved to a higher location where a new Hasankeyf was build, the original town is gone forever. For me, Hasankeyf was the most exiting city in Turkey with a lot of history and I’m still sad when I think what a loss that is to humanity. But you can read all about Hasankeyf in the post.
The Portrait of a Man was also taken in Turkey. I was travelling through a region called Dersim, or Tunceli, with some friends and we wanted to climb the mountain Düzgün Baba. At the foot of the mountain we met that man and I asked him to take his picture. I also posted a black and white version of that picture a year later which I prepared for a photography prize. (I didn’t win, but at least I made it to round three with the picture. 🙂 )
Landscape Interrupted represents my more abstract collages when I worked with a lot of lines. These pictures became more and more abstract and minimal over time, like in the picture The Dance, for example.
In 2015 I became really annoyed with my Apple computer. I was using it for some years and it was sooo sloooow. I was using computers since the early 1990s and my first operating system was OS2. When the computer broke in 1996 I was sharing a flat with some designers that were using Apple. So I bought my first Mac before the iPhone and before the company got really popular and fashionable. With my first two computers I was really happy. But, as I mentioned, number three was really slow and broke several times and had to be repaired quite often. But when I wanted to buy a new Mac I noticed that the prices had become too high for me and I was looking for an alternative solution. Therefore I asked you: “Which Operating System Works Best For Photographers?“
The post became the most popular of my blog. It was the most visited post from 2015-2020 and became number two in 2021. Looking at the stats I noticed that most visitors came from outside our blogging bubble. What made the post even more exiting were all the comments that really helped me to make a decision.
Well, I’m sitting on a Windows computer now. It works very well with all photography software I tried. Even video editing programs run without problems.
Video editing was also what I was busy with recently: For some new remixes for my band mockART I animated some of my pictures.
The remixes will be part of a remix album. I will tell you more about that when we publish it later this year. But I think to see some of my pictures in action might be a great treat for my blogging anniversary.
But back to my pictures: Snowstorm in Paris was already posted in 2014, but only made the top three a year later. The picture was more some kind of experiment: I wanted to know how you would react to a picture that you cannot see. For this work I used a picture taken in Paris and painted over it with white colour.
Behind the Cliffs the Deep Blue Sea was taken in Malta. It is one of my favourite landscapes and it was also part of one of my expositions. Now the picture is hanging here in front of me and I can see it when I look up from the computer.
You should remember the most visited post in 2016, right?
Yes, it is the one about computers and operating systems.
So I will show you twos and threes for the following years.
Horse Riding Horse is one of my most beloved pictures. I must have nailed the right section of my motive. The horse was photographed in Dreieich, a small town in Germany.
The Future of Hasankeyf brings us back to my favourite places in Turkey. I did and interview with John Crofoot, one of the activists that tried to save the town from being submerged. As I couldn’t travel to Turkey it was really interesting for me learn more about what was happening. But sadly, all the activism couldn’t save the town. Around that time I also wrote a couple of letters to several politicians, asking them to talk to their contacts in Turkey about Hasankeyf. Some of them even wrote back, saying that diplomatic relations with Turkey were difficult and that they cannot discuss Hasankeyf right now.
So, again, we skip the post about operating systems and start with the second most visited post of 2017: This one is another interview. This time with German journalist Edda Schlager who I met in Almaty. She also takes a lot of brilliant photographs and I talked with here about Photographing Central Asia.
Number three is a picture of the monastery Dadivank, back then still located in Nagorno-Karabakh, now part of Azerbaijan. The monastery itself was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. As Azerbaijan doesn’t seem to have a high regard for all things Armenian I hope they will preserve it, but I’m afraid they won’t.
In 2018 you seem to have really liked my pictures from Sicily. Both somewhat darkish, I might say. But I like dark things and that is probably one of the reasons I took these pictures. The House by the Sea you can find in Syracuse and The Evening Light broke over the coastline near Taormina.
I hardly ever take pictures in portrait orientation. However, in 2019 you seemed to have liked my pictures in this format the most, apart from the post about operating systems, of course. 🙂
In 2019 I visited a light show in Frankfurt called Luminale. This festival is held every two years and different places in the city are illuminated and artists show their objects created with light. That year a lot of photographers were running around with their cameras on tripods, but most people were taking pictures with their smartphones. As you have probably already noticed, that is Contemporary Photography now.
Hiking along the River Rhine in Germany I saw this tree full of mistletoe and photographed it against the sunlight. But I have to admit that it wasn’t in The Cold Light of the Morning, but rather the warm evening sun. I thought that title was more fitting.
Now we come to my more contemporary montages. Life as a Painting was assembled from various photos and I was including several pictures in the picture. There is of course the picture of the painter, then the picture postcards and in the background is another picture of a Roman landscape. I was also experimenting with the overall style and made the final picture look very soft.
Isolation was one of my Covid pictures. During the early days of the pandemic a colleague contracted Covid and I was quarantined as well because I sat close to her in the same office all day. When I was sitting at home by myself and wasn’t allowed to meet anyone I tried to capture my state of isolation in a picture. This time I was going for the vintage style that I was using for some of my following montages as well.
And we finally have a new winner. In 2021 I posted another piece about computers and photography. As I wanted to get rid of Photoshop and Lightroom due to their subscription model I discussed with you Post Processing Without Photoshop and Lightroom. To answer your question: I use Affinity Photo now instead of Photoshop. Lightroom I have replaced with Capture One. Sadly, Capture One will change their pricing model soon and it looks like you have to pay a lot more if you don’t want to subscribe. Probably Lightroom is the only alternative, however, with Fuji RAWs it is not the best solution due to worming…
…so if you have a tip here, I would appreciate it. For now I’m still using Capture One. Hopefully it will take a while till it is outdated.
Number two is… you know!
Number three was An Examination of Eating Habits. Another one of my montages in vintage style.
No we have arrived at last year’s pictures. I had mainly posted montages around that time. Therefore I decided to show you a gallery with photos I didn’t use for my montages. You must have been looking for Something Else: The post became the most visited one in 2022.
In a year of economic crisis you were certainly looking for Prospective Economic Advantages and you got them in the form of a picture. At this time I had already developed a new style I was using here as well: I composed the montages and then reduced them to one layer that I duplicated a couple of times. Over one of the layers I painted with “digital colour” in Affinity Photo. Then I mixed the layers in a way that some elements seem to be painted and others photographed.
The same technique I used on the third most visited picture. As there were still some lockdowns in place at the beginning of the year, you probably spend some time in front of your TV set. Hopefully the live transmissions didn’t actually transmit life.
For the anniversary I was also thinking about the friends I made through blogging and the many wonderful people whose blog posts I like to see and read. Sadly, some blogs I really liked went inactive, other bloggers – especially those posting pictures – went to Instagram and other social media platforms. I can think of the temptation to concentrate on Instagram for example because you get a lot of instant likes. But I also noticed that you don’t really get very helpful comments. To me it feels like a lot of people like a lot of pictures or post some emoji in the comment section so the algorithm shows their own posts to more people.
I also use social media – but more as a means of promoting my blog posts a little and lure my non-blogging friends here. But I always remained true to blogging because I really appreciate the feedback I get from you. And that shows me that most of you really look at my pictures or read by texts.
I also would like to share with you an article I recently found on The Verge about personal blogging. There are really a lot of good points why blogging is often more rewarding than social media.
In that sense: