This website is mostly about words–usually, but not always, mine, although others like Robert Horvat, Peter Henderson and Harry Markov have also contributed. But pictures and artwork are a major part of this site too, and it’s an aspect that I rarely draw attention to. Almost every article on this site has a graphical header to go with it. They create the mosaic of images you see whooshing past on the front page, and I spend a good deal of time choosing and editing them or even building them from scratch. In this post, one of my end-of-the-year wrap-ups, I thought I would showcase my favorite images that have appeared on my blog during 2014, because I’m proud of many of them.
First, I thought I might give you a few words about how I do images here. Some header images come “ready made,” that is, I don’t have to do anything to get them in shape to post them. “Historical photo,” “Earth” or “Planet Wine” posts fall into this category. But many subjects I write about don’t have specific images, which I have to create. My main building blocks for header images come from two main sources. The first is a wonderful site called Morguefile, which has thousands of public domain, copyright-free photos to use for any purpose, for free, and without signing up for an account. The vast majority of custom built headers on this site begin with something from Morguefile. My second source is Wikimedia Commons, which also has a large amount of public domain images. When public domain isn’t possible, I will usually use images with some sort of free attribution license, like Creative Commons or GNU. For copyrighted images I make sure I’m on strong fair use grounds.
While I love and miss my very old (2002) copy of Adobe Photoshop, it simply doesn’t work on my newer computer anymore, so my photo editor is GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), which is a free open-source alternative to Photoshop. It’s often maddening to work with and has its limitations, but it gets the job done. I’ve become pretty good at it, especially during this year, and some of my graphics have become more elaborate as time goes on. I like to think I’m always improving.
Now, without further ado, what follows are my favorite images from the past year, in three categories: images I created, photos I actually took, and images that I had nothing to do with creating but which I think are unique and interesting. The rights to these various images and their component pieces are multivaried. While clicking the image itself will bring up a larger version, if you’re interested in credits, rights etc., click the link to the original article in which it appeared.
Images I Created
Photos I Took
Images I Did Not Create Or Edit
Moses’s great boondoggle, continued: the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair [Part II]. (photographer unknown)
Zombie Rebellion (by Scott Carpenter)
“Chimborazo”: the stunning environmental romanticism of Frederic Edwin Church. (by Frederic Edwin Church)
Unconquerable Afghanistan: The murky history of America’s longest war. (by WO2 Fiona Stapley/MOD)
I hope you found my blog as fun and interesting to read and look at as it was to write. Happy 2015!