The new Photography page

Freely after Lasalle - Seeing what is

On my site there is a new "old" page, the Photography page. From now on, I will show photos here that are close to my heart and that I find particularly successful.

It took me almost 30 years to know what I am about in photography; I will certainly travel more in the next few years and get an accurate picture of the world - hopefully with a lot of visual eloquence.

At the same time, I would like to say a few words here about the technical implementation, because I personally find the technical solution I found to realise the picture gallery very elegant, practical and efficient.

Since 1983

My first Nikon

My first Nikon was the Nikon FE with a standard lens of 50mm/aperture 1.8. I was in the photo club of the Johanniskirche in Wuppertal and started out mainly in black and white. The negatives I took at that time are an unearthed treasure - perhaps I will digitise them this year.

So I have been taking photographs since 1983. But it took me until I went to university to train my eye to the point where my photos could really be called illustrations, thanks to the esteemed photographer Charles Comperé.

When the new website was launched, there was soon a photography category, but it did not contain - as one might think - photographs, but rather essays on photography and perception; likewise, the subdirectory then contained travelogues and elaborate photo stories about garden visits. So more photography and stories, but still more travelogues and picture observations.

It was then my friend and photographer Kerstin Sonntag who gave the right and important impulse to create an appropriate virtual space for my photography. My view of the world has changed significantly in the last ten years and is shaped even more by the search for what we are in danger of losing or have already lost. The design history professor Dr Sonja Günther told me in my studies, first write down what you see. Exactly, in appropriate, clear precise words. The first results of a factual analysis then actually arise by themselves. Transferring this to photography, for me this means first of all: depicting as precisely as possible. The result of this exchange in design history was a one-week trip to Copenhagen, with which I wanted to show how much our image of historical architecture was still shaped by the black-and-white illustrations of some books until the 1990s. I wanted to know how well Arne Jacobsen's architecture had held up over the last 40-60 years. Whether its lightness could effectively withstand the wear and tear of life. And how illustrations in colour and black and white affect our perception.

Now - among my many other pursuits - I am on a quest for the Renaissance concept of beauty for the factual report Form follows Function and again my eye, my vision has sharpened further. I sincerely hope that the pictures give you a small impression of how I see the world.

To the new page go this way: Photography

Die neue Seite verschafft mir einen großen Vorteil: Ich kann Bilder schneller und ohne Texte veröffentlichen.

Die frühere Seite Fotografie heißt jetzt Reisen. Mit der Bezeichnung bin ich schlussendlich noch nicht hundertprozentig zufrieden, ich mache hier erst einmal einen Kompromiss. Außerdem erscheint in der Kategorie Reisen hoffentlich schon in Kürze neuer Inhalt (Unsere Radtour nach Dijon).

The new site gives me a big advantage: I can publish pictures faster and without texts.

The former Photography page is now called Travel. In the end, I am not yet one hundred percent satisfied with the name, so I am making a compromise here for the time being. New content has just appeared in the category: Our cycling tour to Dijon: (Our cycling tour to Dijon).

MODX and modmore MoreGallery

Simple and as practical as possible

A little about the technical implementation: In my opinion, it is quite elegant and uncomplicated. Many roads lead to Rome, as the saying goes, and MODX is no different. It is possible to create a picture gallery with many methods, but you have to weigh them up carefully depending on the purpose. Basically, there are two packages/addons that fulfil this purpose. This is the Gallery package and the more professional and better supported and maintained version of modmore, the MoreGallery, which is subject to a fee. The little snag that MoreGallery has, namely that it does not support Babel, the translation package, I was able to solve cleverly and easily.  
All in all, these resources were newly created:

- Photography
- Category /analog (coming soon)
- Category /portrait (ditto)
- Category /urban 
- Category /landscapes
- category /gardens (coming soon)
- /photos

The index page Photography shows the currently public category pages with a quote. The quotes helped me a bit to avoid a category description of my own. Citations and category images and image descriptions are stored in template variables in the category pages.

The category pages load their content from the container photos, where I store all photo entries. The container /photos is a resource that enables a simpler and more compact view in the MODX page tree with the package Collections.

A total of three different templates are now used:

- /photography index
- /photography category
- /photography single page

Filtering is done in the pdoResources call of the category pages according to the autotag variable *foto-tag. I use the template variable (TV) menutitle for matching. A simple system that has also helped me with the blog categories.

Note: I have replaced all square brackets (MODX) with round ones (( )). MODXers will hopefully understand this anyway.

Codeschnipsel für die Kategorie-Seiten

So far, so simple. The big problem with using MoreGallery for article galleries is the fact that the gallery content is completely lost when you create a translation. Since I already had this problem elsewhere in the website, I wanted to avoid this circumstance at all costs.

Loading ModGallery from other translations

Quite simple: In the two languages English (en) and French (fr) I simply load the gallery from the German page. This can be done in MoreGallery with the line &resource=``, which is integrated into the snippet call !mgGetImages.  
But how should the French page know where the gallery is located and which page ID is assigned to it? This is where Babel helps us out.  
We now assemble the !mgGetImages as follows:  

    &resource=`((BabelLinks? &tpl=`babel_id` &showCurrent=`1`))`
Codeschnipsel für das Template der einzelnen Fotoseiten

 This expression is of crucial importance:

((BabelLinks? &tpl=`babel_id` &showCurrent=`1`))
Hier wird die ID des ursprünglichen, bei mir deutschsprachigen Artikels geladen

Babellinks loads a list of related resources. And the German one, the basic version with the gallery, we get if we put the following code in the chunk babel_id:


This way we only get the German version as output, from which the gallery content is then loaded.

And what about the MoreGallery translation by Babel?

Here I use another trick, the MoreGallery Custom Fields, which have been available since version 1.4.  For a semantic output of image descriptions, it makes sense anyway to separate the year of origin, for example, textually from the image description.

In the system variable moregallery.custom_fields individual fields can be stored in JSON data format.  
Mine are as follows:


        "label":"Deutsche Bildbeschreibung"
        "label":"Englische Bildbeschreibung"
        "label":"Französische Bildbeschreibung"
         "default":"Thomas Schürmann"
JSON für ModGallery Custom Fields

Now, in the German-language version of the article, I can create the translations of the captions for each picture directly in the gallery. This simplifies not only the creation of the galleries but also the writing of the translations immensely, since I only have to click on each picture once and not three times.  
In the chunk that is responsible for the image display of the individual images, there is now the following line of code (please complete the HTML correctly)

span itemprop="description"
br class="d-md-inline" /
Foto: span itemprop="creator"((+custom.fotophotographer))/span,
span itemprop="dateCreated"((+custom.fotoyear))/span
Stripped HTML für das Element figcaption

In the process


loads automatically the correct language version of the image caption. Done.

Designing, setting up and building the whole thing with many other activities took about a week. I would be very pleased if you would take a look to my new photography page

If you have any criticism, suggestions or comments, please write them to me, I would be very happy to read it and learn something more if there is a simpler or more sensible solution for it.

tl, dr;

There is a new photography page on The article is about my motivation for photography and a few technical details in the background.

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