Hello my name is Stefanos (aka @fotostef), I am from Greece and the past 6 years I live in a very small village at the island of Crete producing organic extra virgin olive oil, honey and pictures. But I used to be very different than that.
I grew up in Athens, the capital of Greece and have lived most of my life there. In high school I had my first acquaintance with photography. The minute I saw an image to be developed in front of my eyes, under the red light of the darkroom, I knew that I was hooked for good. Photography became my passion, my bachelor degree and inevitably, my profession.
I have worked as a photographer almost in every possible way from the age of 19 (parallel to my studies) and for more than 20 years. I started from the most "humble" photographic jobs you could ever imagine and went all the way to owning one of the most well-paid studios in Greece.
Of course most of my professional archives are on film because...
...because that's who I am. I belong to an analog generation. I learned to take pictures on film, I took my degree on film photography, I have had my best clients as a film photographer and when the digital era stormed into my life and my profession, I just turned around!
It was about at the same time that I started to suffocate with the urban lifestyle. I switched my carrier from the confined studio environment to travel photography. I spent 3 years traveling all over Greece fulfilling one of my dreams, to get paid for traveling! But still, there was something missing.
In the summer of 2013 I spent one month with my partner at Nisyros, a volcanic island with amazing energy. It was there that the idea of leaving the city rooted in our minds. When we returned to Athens the idea kept bugging us (fortunately both). Long story short by the end of October we had made the decision. Off we go!
For me this wasn't just a move. I felt the need to open a brand new chapter in my life. I followed an outrageous detox diet quitting at the same time cigarette, coffee, alcohol, sugar and every animal based food. Three months later I felt light enough to ride the wind and strong enough to start a new life from the scratch!
In January of 2014 we visited the village of my late grandparents in Crete to see how it would feel under the prospect of permanent residence. I don't have any significant property that could support us in our new life there, so we might as well have picked any place in Greece but it was familiar and made the transition a little bit easier.
We returned in Athens, quit our jobs and started packing! It took us another couple of months to short out all loose ends and squeeze as much of our staff as possible in the tiny car that was our transportation vehicle to our very own promised land :)
How was it?
Well it was nothing like what we have expected. We were totally unprepared for the lifestyle we were pursuing. But it was beautiful, it was invigorating and constantly educational and it still is, all of the above!
Every year we were readjusting our life plan according to the new knowledge and experience that we had gained and every year we were laughing at our last year's selves :)
It took us about 4 years to give a realistic shape to our dream and to figure out how to pursuit it in an effective, practical way.
That brings us to 2018. Our new life is on track, the quality of our lives has been skyrocketed and I feel more confident and more aware of my decisions. But again something was missing.
Preoccupied and mesmerized from my new life I had turned my back to photography. My old passion had been identified with my old life and everything that I wanted to leave behind. But eventually I started missing it. After four years that I had hardly touched my camera I started to take it out of the closet more and more often. And then I was introduced to steem!
At the time I was already 45 years old, I was spending my days working on a farm and I was completely illiterate about blogging, online communities or crypto. I had never had any social media account and I still haven't apart from steem (that I am quitting), hive (that I am introducing myself to) and a twitter account that I opened a few days ago to help promoting the hive blockchain. What on earth was I doing at a blockchain based social media?
Well as many others before me have written, I came for the money, I stayed for the community. It sounds like a cliche but it cannot be closer to the truth. I met great photographers and wonderful bloggers, I got inspiration and encouragement and on the bottom line I reinvented my photographic identity and have found the balance I was missing all that time. The two large pieces of my life's puzzle, the rural living and photography were, at last, perfectly fitted.
And then February of 2020 came and the whole steem building started to shake. Steemit was sold to Justin Sun, owner of the tron ecosystem and as it turned out an arrogant and dangerously ignorant speculator. The past 2 years I grew a fondness about the steem community but the last 2 months I became very proud to be part of it. We stood way above the morals and the level of our interlocutor and when it was clear that we were negotiating with a brick wall, we came up with the best possible solution.
That solution is no other than hive.io, a community-driven fork that created a new decentralized blockchain, a censorship free environment for all kind of creators, our new home!
So that was my introduction to the hive community. For my old followers to remember who I am and for the new ones to get to know me, as well as for the outside world since this post is meant to be shared on twitter, too!
Many thanks to @anomadsoul for organizing and @blocktrades and @ocdb for sponsoring the My Introduction to the Hive Community challenge, a great opportunity to get to know each other better and to make ourselves known to a broader audience.
Most of the pictures above are from my posting activity on steem, the past 2 years. I included them as a small sample of what you can expect if you follow my blog.
Thank you for reading. Looking forward to see you on hive!