Benjamin Eskola

Photoblog

personalphotography

For the last few months or so I’ve been increasingly unhappy with Instagram. It’s probably the easiest way to share photos semi-publicly (i.e., primarily with friends/family but not privately), in particular because it makes it easy to cross-post to Facebook (in fact it’s about the only way I interact with Facebook these days). The downsides are that it’s quite limiting (odd constraints on image size, for example), and moreover that Instagram’s (Facebook’s/Meta’s) interests are not at all aligned with my own. Instagram wants its users to post videos and click on adverts and so on; I’ve no interest in either.

There are other photo-hosting sites that aren’t so bad (I used 500px for a while, though I haven’t kept it up to date). But to be honest I prefer the idea of running something I can control myself. So, a few days ago I finally got around to setting something up. I looked into a couple of options (Wordpress and Ghost), but my preference is usually for static site generators and I didn’t feel like the extra complexity of a full-scale blogging platform would really be justified.

The SSG I use for this site, Hakyll, felt like overkill for photos; I wouldn’t need enough of its features to justify the extra complexity. So I settled on Zola, which has the right level of simplicity and flexibility.Update, 27 June: I’ve subsequently migrated this blog to Zola too.

I got an export of my existing photos from Instagram using instaloader, then wrote a program to convert its archive format into pages for Zola to display (I also had a Python version before I decided to turn this into an opportunity to learn Rust too).

It’s now running at photos.eskola.uk and hopefully it’ll be an incentive to do more photography in future.