Home News Macfilos celebrates 11th birthday

Macfilos celebrates 11th birthday

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2013 again, testing the Leica Monochrom in London's Brick Lane market

Another year has passed and Macfilos is 11 years old today. That’s quite a record for any blog and it has demanded a great deal of commitment from me as chief cook and bottle washer.

Finding something to write about five days a week is a daunting task and it works only because, first, I am interested in what I do. I love writing, especially. Macfilos has also assumed the status of a job in my retirement. It’s unpaid work, of course, but it keeps me occupied and I have met many like-minded individuals throughout the world as a result.

Check the first post on Macfilos, we all have to start somewhere

However, far from being a moneyspinner, Macfilos is more of a money pit. But the few thousands a year that it costs to keep the site running are more than repaid in therapeutic value in my retirement.

2013 and editor Mike (right) tries out the Leica Monochrom with his old friend George James outside Leica Mayfair
2013 and editor Mike (right) tries out the Leica Monochrom with his old friend George James outside Leica Mayfair

Wordcount

We are still managing to produce over 150 articles a year. According to my Grammarly grammar checker, which serves as a first-stage electronic proof-reader, the site has published just under a million words in the past twelve months.

There is no record of the word-count in the previous ten years but, overall, we have probably exceeded the impressive 4.6 million words churned out by Charles Dickens in his lifetime. Quantity, though, rather than necessarily quality in our case.

We’ve published 4,751 articles and received 10,381 comments — most of these in the past three years as readership and interaction has increased. For the first few years, comments were few and far between. Receiving just one response was once an excuse to pop a bottle of Prosecco. Now, as you see every day, the interest is rising rapidly.

2013 again, testing the Leica Monochrom in London's Brick Lane market
2013 again, trying out the Leica Monochrom in London’s Brick Lane market

Gentlepersons all

When it comes to comments, however, we appear to be a gentlepersonly lot at Macfilos. All published comments are constructive and courteous and we have avoided arguments and, worse, personal criticism. This, I think, is an attraction for for readers fed up with internet sniping and bad humour. One reason for this could be the decidedly mature profile of the average reader.

Spam, of course, is filtered out. Since changing to WordPress from Squarespace earlier this year I am now seeing spam these comments for the first time. It was shocking to find over 1,000 carefully crafted bits of nonsense sitting in the spam box every month. They are filtered out by software, as they were on Squarespace, although I never saw them then. The majority of such observations are of doubtful provenance and many are of inscrutable intent.

All spam comments contain links to other sites, malicious or otherwise, and are easily identified and suppressed. Is you sitting comfortable-like and is you oblivious to bad grammar? If so….

Why do they even bother? One can only supposit that someone gets taken in....

When it comes to moderation, however, I can tell you that in the past six months I have had to delete only two comments which were not exactly spam but which were offensive, in my opinion. Troll-like negativity, insults and politics are banned here. We just stick to photography and leave controversy for other channels.

Band of siblings

We are fortunate to have a loyal band of authors which enjoys (I hope) writing for Macfilos. Together, they have contributed 375 articles and have helped add tremendous variety to the content which, with just one author, could become boring in time. Our most prolific current contributor is John Shingleton from New South Wales who has penned no fewer than 77 articles for this site.

Macfilos contributor William Fagan from Dublin, seeh here at this year's Leica Society annual meeting in Nottingham
Macfilos contributor William Fagan from Dublin, seen here at this year’s Leica Society annual meeting in Nottingham

William Fagan in Dublin comes a worthy second in the current list, not that this is a game of numbers. Quality is the objective, which all our contributors achieve, and the table below should be read on the basis that some of ‘em have been at it a lot longer than others. Click on the links to see what they’ve all been writing about over the years.

Sadly, our second most prolific though non-current contributor, Bill Palmer has stopped writing about Fuji because of a change of direction in his business life. Over the years up to 2016 Bill put together 66 erudite articles and attracted a lot of interest. Stories on Fuji are always popular. I keep hoping he will pick up his cameras and return with more of his insights into Fujifilm. In the meantime, David Bailey has stepped effectively into the breach.

Incidentally, I used “siblings” advisedly in the last heading despite the obvious brotherly nature of our contributors. I think it’s time we had a few female writers to add to our list. Any takers?

And, in terms of geography, we are over-focused on Europe and Australia. What about some authors from the North America (which accounts for the largest slice of Macfilos readership) and Asia? All contributions will be well received and, even if English isn’t your native language, I am happy to do some creative sub-editing.

Support

We have also published numerous guest posts from occasional contributors. Frankly, Macfilos couldn’t continue without the tremendous support we get from our authors, all of whom put great efforts into writing and illustrating some fascinating accounts of travel throughout the world. Together, we’ve been up Everest and we’ve wandered most of Europe, Australia and South-East Asia, with several excursions into Africa and the Middle East.

Finally, why Macfilos and not Leica-philos or Photo-filos? When the site started in 2008, photography was far from my mind. I was keen to write about technology, with a strong leaning towards Apple: Hence the Mac, plus the ubiquitous and (I admit) clichéd “filos” or philos.

It was two years later that I started writing more on photography and, gradually, the subject has taken over the site. Ideally, perhaps, I should have changed the name back in 2011 but it is now a bit too late for that.

However, the Mac might have bolted, but the stable is still here. With eleven years’ worth of comment indexed by Google and others, changing now would be counterproductive. In any case, it is just a name and it is the content that matters and which keeps readers coming back for more.

26 COMMENTS

  1. Happy Birthday Macfilos, and long may you continue. I find your articles something to look forward to on a weekday. Why you should want the weekend off I’m not sure!!!!

  2. Congratulations- What a Blessing it has been to have you and Macfllos in my life.
    Thanks again for all you do!
    Dave Berry from Colorado!

  3. Congratulation Mike, and hope you are enjoying the sunny break. 😎

    From my perspective I enjoy the articles I read, and I’ve truly enjoyed writing articles. It’s nice for me to just do something different away from the day job.

    Also I have a debt of thanks to the site as I found it oddly reading about Mr X’s Porsche’s, or was it his porch. Not sure. Either way it led me to the X as a camera, then to Red Dot and thus to my own X.

    Here’s hoping to many more years of happy reading and writing together.

  4. Congratulations Mike,
    The blog stands as a testament to your hard work and will remain as something you can continue to be proud of.
    Kevin

  5. Congratulations Mike and team. To heck with prosecco, you deserve champagne! I’ve enjoyed so many of your posts in recent years but do miss Bill Palmer given my status of current Fuji ownership and Leica past ownership. (but never ending interest)
    Cheers,
    Peter B.

  6. Over here in Trumpland NY Macfilos arrives with the afternoon tea and provides a welcome respite from writing and teaching – I would say a really calming effect as opposed to those wake up sites and e-mails. The content is both reasoned and the photos excellent and inspiring even if one doesn’t have the time to impulse shoot outside. Your band of contributors are sane and often very useful. And above it all you reign with humor and wisdom.
    Thanks Mike – I know from my own experiences in school postings that it’s hard to keep up.

  7. “And ours go to 11” in the immortal words of Spinal Tap. Many thanks for enlightening my day-to-day existence. And here’s to the next 11!

  8. Happy Birthday, Mike!

    If I recall correctly, I found Macfilos when hunting for a genuine, real world report on the Panasonic GX8. I’ve stayed ever since!

    Congrats on not only reaching 11 years, but perhaps more rarely – building something you clearly love.

    Regards and thanks

  9. Happy Birthday to Macfilos and congratulations Mike. Thanks also for your kind words above. Macfilos has led me into many directions which have developed along with my photographic hobby. One of my early articles on photographic auctions appeared in both the TLS and LHSA magazines. I presented the photos from my Greece and Syria articles in Chicago in 2017 at the AGM of the LHSA, whose magazine had earlier featured those articles. My article on the Grubb lenses, made in Dublin in the 19th Century, has recently appeared in its third different iteration in a UK Collectors magazine. I now find myself working on a book on the history of photography in Ireland and I have recently joined the board of the Gallery of Photography, Ireland. And in 2021, we will have the LHSA AGM in Dublin and I will be meeting with the LHSA team in Boston USA this October to discuss the arrangements for that. There other aspects too numerous to mention in detail here, including contacts with some of the leading experts on vintage Leicas in different countries.

    I have a lot to thank you for Mike as your invitation to write for Macfilos has led me into many interesting avenues and outlets for my photographic hobby. I know that I have not been as productive for Macfilos of late, but I also remember that I owe you articles on Turkey, Qatar and India in my Middle East and Further East series and on a few other topics as well. Hopefully, you will see some in the not too distant future.

    As I have said before, Macfilos has some unique qualities not often found in photographic sites/blogs . Long may it continue.

    William

  10. A great achievement
    You should be very proud; but I guess you are too modest for that.
    Nonetheless – congratulations
    And many more may ye hae!

  11. Congratulations on the milestone! Your blog is so professional in calibre. Unlike other blogs I find the content consistently interesting and often valuable. We all appreciate the incredible effort you put into this blog. Cheers! Brian

  12. Happy birthday Mac.
    And thank you Michael for excellent curating and editing.
    A great ‘site. A daily visit is on the must-do list.

  13. Congratulations Mike on eleven years of Macfilos . You really have done exceptionally well to maintain your enthusiasm for the blog and the overall quality of the content over such a long time. Not many blogs last five years let alone eleven. You can be proud of your achievement. Here’s hoping that you have a few more years blogging left in you. Best wishes
    John

  14. Thanks to everyone for your very kind comments. It’s this sort of feedback that gives me the enthusiasm to carry on. I’m now back and rested from what turned out to be a beach holiday, location not particularly of my choosing. I don’t do beaches, so for me it was a restful “beach cafe” break interspersed with a couple of trips to the big city, Palma, which turned out to be a rewarding and photogenic place. Normal service will be resumed from Monday. Thanks again, all of you.

    Mike

  15. Happy birthday Macfilos and thank you Mike for the wonderful work of editing and curating you daily do. The Macfilos articles are the first thing I look forward to reading back home after my teaching day. Your other great achievement as well is to have gathered a community of passionate photographers that makes the blog great.
    Thanks again
    Jean

  16. Well done, Mike. A considerable achievement. But you are supposed to be on holiday. Please get back to the beaches and bars. 😁

  17. Congratulations Mike on keeping this blog fresh and interesting. Yours is the only blog I now visit regularly, most of the others having lost my interest over time. I hope to look forward to many more years on fascinating articles on photography.

  18. Happy birthday to Macfilos and thank you for your hard work, Mike! This is indeed a very unique site in the photography community. Contents here are always inspirational and practical, yet with a sense class and humor. I always check here at least a few times per week. Keep up the good work and I am sure the reader/writer base will continue to grow!

    Yours Truly,
    Patrick

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