Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Redesign of my main website

I am busy with the major redesign of my web site http://miklav.com. I've done a big portion of the work, but many things still need to be finished.

What I've done so far:
  • Changed the menu structure, added some sections to the site
  • Formatted section about selling stock pictures as a separate sub-site
  • updated CSS style definitions
  • updated and cleaned HTML code to properly use CSS and to get rid of old-fashioned table-based formatting
Still needs to be done:
  • Completely replace photo gallery (content, design and programming behind it). I do have new design ready, but the content needs to be finished
  • Clean remaining links to the old sections of the site
  • Clean unused files and folders
  • Re-work my article about selling pictures online. Split in several parts and add some notes that I have in my mind.



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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Photos of Leuven

One of the ideas I have about this blog is to show Leuven and surroundings. Something like "a photo a day" - although I don't think I will be able to post one photo from Leuven really each and every day. Anyway, I will show some, and the picture you see is the first one in this series.

This picture was taken in Grote Begijnhof (Beguinage) of Leuven - nicely preserved historical district.


If you are interested to know a little about Begijnhof, read further:


The Beguinage of Leuven lies on the banks of the River Dyle, in a quarter called "Ten Hove", south of the city center.

During the 12th century, we see the origin of many new religious movements, most of them trying to return to the old ideals of "living like Christ in his time". One of these were the "wandering preachers" in Germany. Unlike them, the Albigensians or cathars, in southern France, rejected all ecclesiastic authority and Christian dogmas. Also the Apostolici rejected all ecclesiastic discipline and most dogmas. They also postulated complete renunciation of earthly goods. It is in this context, we see the first appearance of the name "beghina", mostly in a pejorative meaning, indicating a person who "begs" or stammers (derived from a French word)
After the crusades, under Greek-Byzantine influence, a mystical movement invade the western world. Especially women were attracted by this ideal. They didn't want to withdraw into the wilderness but retired to hermitages near a cloister, a church or a chapel. These women wanted to devote their lifes to contemplation. This evolution caused the origin of so called "double cloisters". Cloistered women lived in the immediate neighbourhood of regular monks.

In the beginning, most religious women lived apart. They were certainly stimulated to go and live in groups, convents, because in this way, it was easier to get overview and control over this religious movement. (about 1240) The oldest, still existing document mentions the Beguinage of Leuven in 1232. This beguine convent was founded outside the city walls of those days.

You can read the full article at the website of Leuven University: http://www.cs.kuleuven.be/~maarten/pics/begijnhofleuven/Begleuhis.html


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Monday, January 21, 2008

Selling photo prints

I was thinking for some time already about selling a part of my work as fine art prints. While I focus mainly on stock photography, I am making some pictures that I consider myself "artistic".

I knew about two possibilities so far: DeviantArt and CafePress. The former didn't make a very good impression and I am not sure if it's worth spending my time. The latter is mainly for souvenir items like mags and t-shirts, and they don't produce a good quality matted fine art prints.

I've made a mini-research in the last few days to see what other photographers are doing, besides selling directly from their personal website, and I discovered imagekind. The first impression is quite positive, and I will give it a try.

There are various free and paid options for imagekind accounts. I will start with a free one to see how it works - upgrade is always possible later.

The artist can define several galleries for his online portfolio (only one gallery allowed in free account), and the look of every picture can be customized by selecting default frame and passepartout (which buyer can still change when making a purchase).

The only thing that worries me a little is whether the inkjet prints are really as good and professional as chemical ones - imagekind ia making inkjet prints only.

Indeed the other question is whether I will succeed getting customers there, but this is not something that really worries me - I am just giving it a try at this point.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cafe Wentelsteen

This is how the Wentelsteen cafe looks inside, with our photographs on the walls:


There is another room where all walls are full of photos but I didn't bother to photograph it.

Unfortunately the cafe is not on a good spot and there is no much publicity about it's activities. Anyway, it's nice to have an exhibition even if audience isn't huge :)

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Photo exhibition in Leuven

I am a member of Viewfinders photography club. Our club had got an opportunity to present the members work in the “Wentelsteen” culture-caf√©, just off the “Vismarkt” in the heart of Leuven.

The location is the ground floor of a very old building, once part of the university, where Vesalius and Justus Lipsius gave lessons. The building is restored but it has retained a lot of atmosphere, which seems to ooze from every sagging wooden beam and crack in the plasterwork. Great place for a quiet drink, or a meal, or just to admire the work of the Viewfinders :)

Six of my own pictures are exhibited there. All pictures are for sale - framed or unframed.

The exhibition runs from January 5th, 2008 to February 2nd (though we’ll be taking down on that day). It is open every day except Mondays, from 11h or 14h on Sundays and bank holidays.

The address is: Cultuurcafé Wentelsteen,
Busleydengang 6D (Vismarkt) 3000 Leuven.

P.S.: The exhibition was put on a short notice and I didn't have time to make photos of the place. Will try to make some later and post here in the blog.
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