I tried creating my first website in the spring of 2003, during my senior year at Concordia College. I was super excited about some photographs of owls I'd taken (in hindsight, a strange foreshadowing of my eventual business name...?!) and desperately wanted to put them "out there". But I had no idea how to do this, or what, really, a website was. (2003, remember. We still had to walk across campus to the library to get internet, and save files on floppy discs. I did not yet own a cell phone. And all my photographs were on film and it was a complete mystery how I was supposed to get them from the camera to the computer.) But I was determined, and stubborn, and spent hours in the library trying to figure it out.
Sadly, the pressures of school and work (student teaching - uff da) overtook my determination and I reluctantly put this goal aside.
Fast forward five years. The spring of 2008. I had returned to Minnesota after some adventures that filled my (now digital) camera with pictures I again wanted desperately to put out there. I had learned a few things about technology since senior year, and I felt a little more confident in my ability to navigate the unknown. So I attempted, once more, to make a website. (Still not really knowing what that meant or how to do it, but now I had Google on my side. A best friend with all the right answers if you could figure out the right questions.) And somehow I pieced together, with the help of open source software Kompozer, a hosting company (what the heck is a hosting company I kept googling) and a lot of coffee, my first website:
Towards Ithaca Photography. I was so proud of it!! The name came from a poem by Constantine Cavafy that was quoted in one of my favorite books at the time, The Zahir, by Paulo Coelho. "When you set out on your journey to Ithaca, pray that the road is long, full of adventure, full of knowledge." I had an insatiable case of wanderlust, you could say :)
Over the next two years, I'd begun to move away from travel photography and the name no longer fit. So I moved forward with my name. Maren Misner Photographic Art.
Which became Maren.Ann Images (with a cool transitioning slide show on the front page)
and my favorite origins story on the about page:
But that didn't feel right just yet. So cue Maren Misner Photographer:
(I kept changing my mind about the background color of my site.)
Another name switch, Maren Misner Photography, and back to all white background:
And a welcomed font update to the name:
But I still wasn't happy with it. Something wasn't right. My name was hard for others to remember (is it -in or -en? Mary? Maureen?!), and I'd begun to incorporate more than just photography into my art. And in August 2013, The Tin Owl was officially born. I sadly don't have captures of my first renditions of thetinowl.com, but this was the first major overhaul:
which became the current site:
Why am I sharing this?! Honestly, I don't know. The incarnations my site and name have gone through are a part of The Tin Owl's story, and I wanted to share. I never got the pictures of the owls online from that spring of 2003, but I'm pretty pleased with what eventually came from that initial stubbornness and determination. <3