Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Fourteen years of Macfilos: 5,500 posts and 10 million words

Fourteen years of Macfilos: 5,500 posts and 10 million words

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Today, Macfilos reaches the grand old age (for a blog, that is) of 14 years. Here in England, they are holding a national holiday to celebrate. And I have strewn colourful bunting across the facade of MacFilos Towers as a nod to the occasion.

Here’s the first article published on the site on 29 August 2008. It has had under 1,000 views in 14 years — and no comments. Must try harder…

Since then, editor Evans and the large contingent of contributing authors have laboured over 5,500 copiously illustrated posts, pounding out some ten million words along the way. I was a mere whippersnapper when it all started, but just see what it has done to me in the intervening years. Now I have to mount my SL2 on a walking frame.

Starting originally as an extremely amateur tech site, specialising in Apple (hence the Mac part of the title), Macfilos focus gradually turned to photography as I became more familiar with the techniques of blogging. We began to pick up a loyal readership from all around the world and have built up an enviable reputation for our even-tempered and informative discussions, with over 24,000 comments on the books.

Mystery woman from the undeveloped film from the early 1950s. We still have no idea who she is, despite world-wide interest
Mystery woman from an undeveloped film from the early 1950s. We still have no idea who she is, despite worldwide interest
And the mystery car... It should have been easy discover the owner from the number plate, but this too turned out to be a dead end. But we did identify the location of all the photographs thanks to the efforts of our worldwide audience
And the mystery car… It should have been easy to discover the owner from the number plate, but this, too, turned out to be a dead end. we did, however, identify the location of all the photographs thanks to the efforts of our worldwide audience

By far, the most successful series of posts was generated by William Fagan with his Swiss Roll mystery of the undeveloped film that had lain undisturbed in a mid-1930s Leica for over 70 years. The initial article in this series has attracted 73,000 views and 331 comments and prompted coverage by mainstream media, including the BBC and New York Times. William’s final summary of progress has notched up 28,500 views and 173 comments.

Without you, the readers and contributors, Macfilos would not have survived for 14 years.

So please raise a glass to Macfilos this evening. The site has provided me with an interesting and rewarding pastime in my retirement. Above all, I have got to know many readers and contributors from all over the world. The blog has also created the opportunity to strike up relationships with trade companies such as Leica, Panasonic and Sigma and the many clubs and associations involved in the photographic world.

47 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations, Mike. A huge achievement enjoyed by so many thanks, in great part, to your steadfast commitment.

    • Frank, thank you for your continued support. It works two ways in that I think I would be rather lost without Macfilos and without the daily interaction with readers and article contributors. Mike

  2. Hi Mike,
    Congratulations on reaching this amazing milestone. I have been following your site for the past 6-7 years. I look forward to all articles published and comments posted are thoughtful and encouraging. All the best to you and your team of contributors.
    Cheers!!!
    JimB.

  3. Congratulations on this milestone, Mike, and here’s looking forward to the many milestones on the road ahead.

    • Farhiz, And thank you also for your many articles which have brightened up the columns and taken us to so many places that many of us could never hope to visit. And an Indian perspective on India is so much better than any tourist assessment. Mike

  4. Congrats! While late to the party i enjoy the informative and/or provoking posts and the comments discussion that usually follows. Well done 👏🏼

    • Thank you, Erwin, but also I owe you a lot for your excellent articles, including the one last Friday. Mike

    • Thank you, Ulrich. I hope to continue as long as I am able. It is the continued interest and participation of readers that gives me the incentive to write. Mike

    • Cheers, John, and I think I am right in saying that you are one of the longest-standing supporters of Macfilos. Mike

  5. Well done, and a massive thank you from someone who has greatly enjoyed the content and resulting views expressed for so many years. Here’s to many more over the next fourteen at least please. Don

    • Thank you, Don, and I appreciate the support of such a talented professional photographer as yourself. We go back a long way, some sixty years if memory serves me correctly, when we were both working for the same publishing company in London. Since then we have both had very successful careers and have now come together again through our love of photography, not to mention our fascination with Leica. Mike

    • Kevin, And thank you for your support and encouragement, your fascinating article and your company on our occasional lunches and coffee breaks. Mike

    • Thank you so much, Steve, I appreciate your support and your assessment of Macfilos. Your recent article had a tremendous reception, with over 50 comments, and I hope you will be encourages to let us see more of your work and your interesting career. Mike

  6. Congratulation Mike and happy birthday Macfilos. Iy is such a pleasure to read, comment, browse through the site archives and write articles and thank you for the wonderful editing job you have been and are doing over the years. The blog is just amazing and mesmerizing.
    Jean

    • Thank you, Jean. You also have made a great contribution to Macfilos over the years and, as our resident Ricoh fan, you add a new dimension. I’m sure you have been responsible for selling more than a few GRs to our readers. Mike

  7. I’m away in the Campervan in Cumbria this week. Just spent the last few hours wrestling my melting leisure battery out of a Rubik’s cube shaped hole in a cupboard.

    Anyway congratulations on reaching the big 14.

    Just raising a glass in a Southerly direction.

    Best wishes

    Dave

    • Thanks, Dave, much appreciated and that’s a good idea. I have a suspicion that many comments got lost when we changed over to Squarespace around 2012. But I don’t suppose there weee any readers in 2008. I was probably talking to myself. Thanks, also, for your unfailing support for many years. Mike

  8. Hi Mike, what a wonderful milestone – 10 million words, not to mention all those posts and photographs! We are all so appreciative of your leadership of this marvelous blog. Not only is it a great resource for photographers at large, and Leica fans in particular, but you have created such a respectful and civilized environment for debate and discussion of these topics – all too rare these days. As someone who has made the transition from a reader to an occasional contributor (perhaps 0.1% of those words!) you and Macfilos have added a highly enjoyable new dimension to my world. Congratulations, and all the best for the next 10 million! Cheers, Keith

    • Thank you too, Keith. I think Macfilos owes a great debt to contributing authors. In your case, I think your articles have become better as we get used to working with one another. And you have found a new outlet for your photography which, I hope, will help in local work, including exhibitions. Mike

  9. Mike, hearty congratulations. Macfilos has outlasted almost all the other photo blogs and has done it whilst remaining civil and always well written.
    The effort you put into the blog is very much appreciated by me and I am sure all your regular readers.
    Let’s hope you have enough charge left in your battery to keep it going for a few more million words and pictures.
    John

    • Thanks, John, and that you for your support and personal friendship over the years. Although we have never met, the advice and assistance from the Australian south east has been invaluable. I hope to keep going as long as I can and I will try to keep the batteries fully charged. Mike

  10. Well done Michael, an achievement to be proud of.
    Hoping you get to an easy 15 years, then set sights for 20 and 25.
    It’s become a ritual for me to go to Macfilos with an after-breakfast coffee. A great way to start the day over here.

  11. Thanks Mike

    Congratulations to you and to all the writers and readers of Macfilos. This is indeed a civilised place to discuss matters relating to photography and other topics. You mentioned my Swiss Photos articles, which outside of these pages generated about 5 to 6 million hits worldwide on BBC, CNN, New York Times etc. A documentary film which has been in planning for some time, but has not come to fruition. The big question is, have we identified the people in the photographs? Well many people with very interesting stories were identified, but there has been no definitive identification, which may mean that there is an even more interesting story behind all of this.

    My first story for Macfilos was about my father’s camera and photography and that meant more to me than the Swiss Photos story, particularly when I later wrote a number of other stories about his camera and photography. The Macfilos story of mine which keeps popping up all the time is my Grubb and Parsons article which shows up on Google searches. It is also topical again with the recent photos from the James Webb telescope. From the 1840s onwards William Parsons was drawing objects which he had seen with the Great Telescope at Birr which Thomas Grubb had helped him to build. These are now being photographed in great detail with the James Webb telescope, but William Parsons saw them first. Recently I purchased an authoritative looking hardback book on British and Irish Brass lenses of the 19th Century and there inside in impressive and academic looking permanent notes and footnotes were substantial quotes from my Grubb and Parsons article in Macfilos, plus a photo of mine from the article. So Macfilos is now on the record in print forever. A photo of one of my lenses also appears in the book.

    I have not been posting as much here lately as I used to do. I am very busy organising and preparing to chair the Annual Conference of the LHSA -International Leica Society which will be held in Dublin in October. Speakers will include Leica Ambassador Sarah Lee who takes photographs for the Guardian, Robin Sinha of Leica Akademie, UK, the Leitz Auction guys who sold the 14 million Euro Leica No 105, Peter Karbe , Leica Chief Lens designer (on APO lenses) , Ana Maria Gosen, the winner of the Oskar Barnack Award in 2021 and, of course, Stefan Daniel who runs the camera side of the business in Wetzlar. If any readers are at the meeting please introduce yourselves.

    The week after the Dublin conference I am speaking about Leicas at the AGM of the Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain in Poole in Dorset.

    On top of all that, I am now Chairperson of Photo Museum Ireland. I am hoping that after October I will be able to get back to writing again for Macfilos. I need to get back to the ‘restful pages’ of Macfilos.

    Somebody commented on how friendly Macfilos is, but a lot of the credit for that must go back to you, Mike. Your great good humour and sense of balance comes across in everything that you do. You are not only the most professional editor that I have ever worked with, but you are also the easiest. You make it clear that everything must be right before something is published and that shows in the quality of the site and the articles which it contains. I have learnt a lot while working with you, Mike.

    Long may you and Macfilos prosper.

    William

    • Thank you William, and thank you for your unfailing support over the years, especially during the hectic weeks of Swiss Roll mania. I hope your arrangements for the LHSA conference run faultlessly and that you have a wonderful time with all the visitors from around the world. Mike

  12. Congratulations Mike for an amazing achievement. Your blog is so interesting, informative, and professional. I was so delighted when I stumbled onto it a few years ago while searching for information on a Leica product. I would like to also thank all the contributors that help make it a success. The quality of the comments are often as valuable as the article which is a dimension I do not see much of in other blogs. Thanks for your tremendous talented efforts in building the success of your blog.

    • Your unfailing support and your informative comments are excellent incentives for me. Feedback is invaluable, and I like to see lots of comments. As you say, the comments are often more entertaining than the article. This is especially so with articles that are designed to get readers involved. Ask a few pertinent questions, and the comments section takes off! Mike

  13. Yes, if it hadn’t been for Swiss Roll I would never have been introduced to Macfilos. I answered the appeal for help on the BBC website. I was delighted to be able track down many of the locations in the Swiss Roll article including the seat shown above (Bellagio) and the car (Lenno).

    Thank you Mike for all your efforts in editing and publishing my previous articles.

    Chris

    • Thank you, Chris. I think the Swiss Roll series brought quite a few visitors who have since become regular readers. Your work on helping identify the locations on that 1950s journey was invaluable. I certainly don’t think we would have been able to pinpoint the places (and in one case, time of the day) so successfully without your expert help.

      Mike

  14. Happy Birthday to Macfilos!

    And congrats to Mike on its success.

    I think I first stumbled across it whilst looking for users of the Panasonic Gx-8 , one of whom was Mike at the time. And I have returned at fairly regular intervals since, even occasionally being lucky enough to submit an article or two.

    Many thanks for keeping it going , Mike. It truly is a wonderful, and varied, site to read – and learn from.

    Jason.

    • Thank you, Jason. Always glad to receive another article from Melbourne when you have the time! Mike

  15. I’m late to the congratulations – but here they are nonetheless! Thanks Mike for enlivening my afternoon tea time (almost) every day. Your posts inform, entertain, sometimes encourage GAS, often urge caution and inspire lively debate. And most important have developed real community among your readers. Thanks so much – and here to the next 14!

    • Many thanks, Tony. During the recent two-week break I suddenly realised how much I rely on regular comments and expressions of interest. It confirmed that I must keep the blog going as long as possible!

      • While infirm instead of inform was a bit of happenstance, my current jippy right knee gives substance to typo. I’ve altered it in your comment and removed your two updates!
  16. I found your site about eight years ago when searching out reviews of the Leica T. I’ve been an avid reader ever since and have you to thank for converting to a paperless office with the trusty Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500. The site is a refreshing change from the toxic comments that litter many other photography blogs.

    Congratulations on a great achievement.

  17. With great delay, but from the bottom of my heart, congratulations also from me. Macfilos has in some respect become a small part of my life and it‘s a good one to say the least.

    Mike, thank you so much for all you are doing. As William Fagan wrote, you are an excellent editor (and I have seem a great number of them), and it is pleasure to work with you.

    Here’s to the next 14 or more years!

    Jörg-Peter

    • I am also so grateful for the interest you have shown in the continued development of the blog, not just in terms of your detailed and invaluable contributions, but your willingness to discuss and share an opinion on mundane matters such as web hosting, theme design, advertising policies and suchlike. Sometimes I have to operate in a vacuum, in the absence of a functioning editorial committee, but I really do value your help and advice which is always freely given, irrespective of your own work commitments. I don’t know about 14 years, but I intend to keep the blog going as long as I can. It will be a milestone if I can top 20 years. Enjoy the rest of your holiday. Mike

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