How Photography Saved My Life and Start of Photophily

Before photography

I always wanted to share things. I’m saying “things” because although I had some ideas in mind, I didn’t know exactly what to do with ideas scattered here and there. I had various online content and community projects, for all of which I pulled the plug eventually since 2009.

In short, those endeavors were not specific enough, I wasn’t deep enough or wasn’t able to find my niche or specialty yet.

I was in trouble

I always struggled to fit, make sense of what I’m doing in the big picture. Many things I tried never satisfied me so I eventually quit in the end, losing to will to keep going.

I’m extremely emotional and I can’t do what I don’t like. Because of that, among some other things, I was a total fail. I was wasting my life. I was so stupid.

Around 2013 I was in deep depression. I was in a dark place, the pain was killing me. I went into emotional self destruct which later turned into a real one as an autoimmune disease that nearly cost my life in 2014.

Discovering photography

In the summer of 2013, I discovered photography because of a simple and irrelevant need which was to learn a little about image cropping, resizing and optimizing for web etc.

I had no clue that this would entirely change my life.

After watching videos a couple days on Youtube I realized dealing with visuals was not just cropping and resizing some imagery but a whole other world. I watched tutorials that summer, day and night, non-stop.

In October of that year, I bought my first camera and I’m making photos since.

Photography saved my life

I had my family, amazing friends who were there with me when I needed them most. But photography saved my life, gave me purpose, joy. Of course not photography itself but the beauties witnessed through photography, looking at the world in a completely different manner.

A hidden hand sent a rope to the bottom of the abyss I was in to rescue me.

I stopped using steroids that were suppressing my immune system in order to control my disease when I was in Italy traveling the Alps.

Nothing excites me more than going to mountains, taking the beauty in and making photos of them. Even when I’m in front of the computer processing these photos I feel my soul trembling, a deep excitement spreading through my veins, my chest being squeezed like in an accelerating airplane. I feel the same even when writing this paragraph. (Am I crazy? I don’t think so).

It was like breathing, finally finding my place, finally fitting in.

That is a long, long story and I’ll cut to the part about Photophily. It already exceeded to the personal side too much. I wasn’t going to tell all of the above however somehow I felt like spilling out. I asked myself several times, while writing the post, whether it was right to get this personal or not.

Nonetheless, there might be troubled souls out there stuck like me and my story can inspire them in finding their way.

Before Photophily

After I bought my camera I started making photos and publishing them. Then I decided I needed my own website and after some digging, I registered the domain name reflections.digital. I put some work on it.

Then things got to a point that I wanted to make tutorials, teach the art/craft. Just as I started to make it happen I realized that “Reflections” was a very common name and there could be trademark issues in the future.

At first, I didn’t care because I was thinking of structuring it as a personal site. Then I didn’t want to take that risk either.

Finding the name

At the end of 2017, I started searching for a name. I wanted something nice, simple and with the .com extension which made the search a nightmare because it was next to impossible to come up with something fitting the above description.

But I was determined, no actually obsessed. Day and night I was thinking of finding a name. In almost two months I had a huge list of ideas all of which were trash. I was losing hope.

And then, one day I was playing with concepts of “photo”, “light”, “love” etc. it suddenly hit me: Photophily. I was so excited. Immediately checked the domain name. It was available and I registered it in a heartbeat. It was 23rd of February 2018.

Long days of painful search were over and I could finally move on to the following things to do.

A year of work

This first year passed by structuring the platform and solving the technical issues. I faced many challenges however groundwork is almost over. I had to learn many things outside of photography. Here are some of the problems solved:

  • Logo
  • Fast web hosting
  • WordPress theme
  • Security
  • Speed optimization
  • CDN
  • Mail hosting
  • Transactional emails
  • Newsletter
  • Community software
  • Courseware
  • Video hosting
  • GDPR, Privacy Policy
  • Plugins
  • Monetization
  • Marketing
  • SEO
  • URL shortening
  • And many other things

I could have just found service providers and wouldn’t waste time and bother all the technical stuff. But it has it’s downsides too; first, it’s expensive and second, you are dependent on someone else’s platform. If something goes wrong they can pull the plug and you are doomed.

Cooking in the house you have full control over the system.

The year ahead

This year is going to be all about content. I’m planning to prepare tutorials, courses and even maybe a couple books.

After that, the goal is to make it possible to run Photophily from mountains.

Kind of unorthodox annual report, isn’t it? But hey, we are not in the realm of cold corporate stuff, right. It’s art that concerns us.

Happy birthday Photophily.

February 23rd, 2019.

Süleyman Dereköy.

Leave a Reply