About This Site
This site was conceived as a replacement for my Fotopic site after the collapse of the Fotopic system in March 2011. The collapse was not totally unexpected as it seemed to me that the service had been getting worse for some time prior to it, and I had been considering a new site on an independent domain anyway. In the end my railways site came to my rescue; the hosts of that site (1 & 1) upgraded my account and I found myself in a position where I could host both sites on the same account. This immediately reduced the costs involved as I was now only paying one annual subscription for site hosting instead of two.
The next problem I had to solve was the issue of photograph sales, as I knew I would have to sub-contract this one way or another. My initial searches of the internet did not provide anything that I felt offered the level of service that I wanted; in this instance it was the "Railway Magazine" that came to my rescue, when an article mentioned a service called "Photobox" that published photograph books from uploaded photographs. After checking them out I discovered that they offered a similar (if not actually better) system of purchasing prints and items to Fotopic, and they only took a commission on anything sold (which Fotopic did as well as charging an annual subscription for the service). The end result was a Photobox gallery where the full version of any photographs I wanted to sell were uploaded, and a link placed from the corresponding page on this site; perhaps not the smoothest of solutions, but one that would result in a lot less administration for me. However, the facility was withdrawn in summer 2016 in favour of a subscription-based system which I felt was not economical to use, and I decided to withdraw the sales facility until I could find an alternative that was more reasonably priced. I ended up with 3XM, which appeared to fit my requirements at the time
So why did I not just use the Photobox gallery on its own? Firstly, although it was a good sales platform (I'd ordered prints and other items from them, and I was impressed with the results), I don't think it works as well as a promotional platform (In fact, I've yet to find any third-party solution that I would consider works for me as a promotional platform). Secondly, and probably most important reason, the loss of the Fotopic site lost me four years of work and it took over two years for this site to be brought up to something close to the level of its predecessor (In the end, I decided to draw a line under the recovery process in Spring 2013 and concentrate on new material from that point onwards). I never want to be in a situation where a host fails and I have to start from scratch again; constructing my own site means I have control of the source code. It is not absolutely ideal, but short of paying someone to build me something better, I don't think I can do much better with the resources I have to hand at present, and the situation described above has justified my decision.
From February 2018, the site has been rebuilt to HTML 5 standard. This was completed in early 2020, and has permitted me to remove the alternate "Mobile-device" version of the site as the new build can deal with this as well as computer viewing. As a result of this, the image resolution sizes have been increased slightly, although some older images have been removed during the rebuild.
2021 saw the introduction of a new sales facility provided by Photo4Me, with a shift in sales policy towards wall art and larger items. After several years with 3XM, I felt that their sales facility was geared more to photographers with specific customers rather than general ones, and midway through 2023 they withdrew their general sales facility, leaving me with Photo4Me sales only.
The second half of 2021 saw the first stage of removing the tables from the site, which weren’t very device-friendly. The tables at the site’s top level and the collection indexes were removed and replaced with their items on a grid format which re-sizes depending on the device being used.
The Google site search facility was replaced with an internally-based one in early 2022, due to the fact that Google could take several months to process updates on this site, and thus limiting the search range (and the results were often fairly random it seemed to me). The new search facility is supplied as part of my web design package, and although it has required some extra coding to get it to work for this site, and I’ve had to make some compromises on what’s searched for performance reasons, it does at least put updating it under my control. It was removed for part of 2023 due to a technical issue, but as of January 2024 I've been able to restore it, at least for image searching.
From 2023, I’ve started work on the layouts of the photograph pages. This is intended to replace the tables, improve the layout for devices and remove some redundant security code. I’ve also decided that while I’m doing this, some of the older photographs and collections will be removed in order to reduce the number of photographs on this site, making it easier to add new material (and reducing the amount of pages the search facility has to look at). As of January 2024, most collections have been completed and I expect to complete the task before the end of the year, although some further formatting is required on some of the earlier collections to bring them into line with later conversions.