In this guest interview, David Kamm of The Greek Cat gives Europe a la Carte some background into his blog. I came across David on Twitter and initially I was unsure of whether The Greek Cat meant the cat (animal) or the Greek term “cat” which means a young male who is a smooth operator with the opposite sex. As soon as I clicked on David’s blog and saw the beautiful photos of the (animal) cats with stunning Greek island backgrounds, I emailed David to ask him to do a guest post, even although I’m not personally a lover of cats.
David Kamm of The Greek Cat
1 What is the aim of your blog?
The primary aim of my travel photography blog is to highlight some of the ‘real’ cats of Greece (cats of the Greek Islands in particular), as found in their everyday settings and activities. The reality is that there is a serious problem with cat overpopulation in Greece, so stray cats are certainly easy to find for photographic subject material. And while many of these cats are in pretty good shape and seem to be living well – at least during tourist season – in most cases they are not the idealized, model cats and kittens you see pictured in the calendars sold in the Greek tourist shops.
I don’t really think of myself as an ‘animal activist’, but I do care about animals and pets (we used to have two cats), so this was a fun travel photography self-assignment. My blog also includes links to some animal welfare groups that are trying to help the stray/feral cats of Greece.
And just to mix in some other things while still staying true to a Greek theme, I also include some photographs that are more typical of travel photography in Greece – landscapes, food, people, etc. But this blog will for the most part remain focused on the many cats we encountered there.
In the end, my hope is that people who like Greece, cats, photography, and travel – or any combination of these – will find something to enjoy in my blog.
2 What prompted you to start your blog?
The short answer is that I had accumulated a decent number of cat images from two recent trips to Greece, and decided that a niche travel photography blog would be a good outlet for them.
For a little more background, my wife and I first went to Greece in 2002, and we noticed all the cats near our hotel on Samos island, which is off the coast of Turkey. I was just reviving my interest in SLR-based photography back then, and didn’t really come back with any great photos of anything. We went back (to the Cyclades islands) in 2007, and that’s where I first really focused on shooting ‘cat portraits’ with my Pentax K10D DSLR. Everything in the blog so far is from that trip. Then we traveled to the Saronic Gulf islands last fall, and I knew ahead of time that I’d be working to add to my collection of cat images while there. I’ll be posting and writing about those images a little later this year.
Also last fall, I became increasingly interested in social media tools, such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc., for personal and professional reasons, and so decided to dive in using the Greek cats theme as a basis for that. It’s been a great way to learn the ropes, and hopefully some people are enjoying the output from my efforts.
3 What has been the hardest aspect of having your own blog?
I think it’s got to be the discipline aspect of posting on a reasonably regular basis, and trying to keep it interesting for readers. The blog definitely is an important complement to my photography now, but it does take time, and unfortunately has to take a back seat to my day job. Still, it’s a great way to show some (hopefully) decent images that would otherwise just be sitting on my PC’s hard drive, or in some online gallery with no real story content and reader interaction.
4 What is the funniest thing that has happened to you running your blog?
It’s got to be that I now have actual ‘cats’ following me on Twitter. Who would have guessed that some cats are smart enough to sign up for Twitter accounts, post little profile pictures of themselves, and tweet about their daily routines? :-) The same thing has happened on my ‘Greek Cat’ Facebook page, which I’ve really not spent much time on at all. I guess these aren’t really blog-specific examples, but they all tie into one another, with the photo blog as my content anchor for everything else.
5 Is there anything you would do differently with the benefit of hindsight?
The main thing I wonder about is my decision to use a fully-hosted blogging tool, vs. a self-hosted platform such as WordPress.org. But so far I’m fine with the simplicity of the hosted option. And since I own the www.greekcat.com domain, I’ll probably point that to my blog pretty soon.
The other thing I may reconsider is my image sizing. I currently post the photos at 400 pixels wide, which isn’t large enough to maximize their impact. But it fits my Blogger template, so that’s how I got started with that sizing. I may decide to link those blog images to larger versions at some point.
My Comments – I certainly remember lots of cats gathering around restaurants tables when I was on the Greek Islands. Your photos really do capture the essence of the Greek islands.