fiftynine: mario’s world tour

Hey there!

So I haven’t forgotten about you lovely lot. I’ve been desperately crocheting my fingers off to finish the baby blanket for my friend – it was the first piece I’d been commissioned to do and so have been desperate to get it right and make sure it’s the best I can do for my friend and her new baby (who is super cute!)

But that’s not the reason for the post right now – there will be pictures of the finished article in a week or so once it’s been delivered.

Back at the beginning of February, I went to my first proper Scone Roses WI meeting – I’d been to the S&B night but hadn’t been to an official meeting.

I went along with my friend @kingfamily and we got settled somewhere near the back.

The visiting speaker for the evening was Mario from Someone Once Told Me – he told us about his blog and the world tour that he’s planning – I was very excited and wanted to learn more so decided to interview him.

Mario from SOTM

Me: Tell me about you, you said at the WI meeting that you aren’t Italian and that you are Maltese – how did you end up in England?

Mario: My father was Maltese, my mother is English. I was born in England, but whisked away as a baby and grew up in Malta. Nationality wise I’m half and half but always favoured the Maltese side, really. My dad died when I was a kid and for various reasons my mum, sister and I moved over to England in 1985. I hated coming here, but we had little choice.

Me: If I could only know one fact about you, what would it be?

Mario: I wrote the programme notes for Leo Sayer’s last UK tour, when I was a student.

Me: I love You Make Me Feel Like Dancing – cheesy pop at it’s best! How did you end up with the idea?

Mario: Someone once paid me a compliment and I thought I’d keep it in mind that day, to cheer me up. Then I started thinking how everyone has stuff inside them, which they’ve been told and choose to carry around, whether it was a compliment or an insult. I then started thinking how I could capture these things we’ve all been told and therefore learn about people’s experiences – and in doing so I hit upon the idea of SOTM. I thought of the whole thing, most of what the project is, within 7 minutes.

Me: How long have you been doing SOTM?

Mario: I started taking photos for it in September 2006, and sent the site live on 8 September 2007. I’ve had a new photo up ever since.

Me: Do you have any specific blogs or websites that inspire you?

Mario: I met a blogger called Kate McCulley who runs the successful travel site Adventurous Kate I was very impressed by what she did and how she did it. I liked the clarity and honesty of her writing, plus her use of striking images. She was also incredibly gorgeous. Happily, I later managed to persuade her to become my girlfriend.

Me: Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?

Mario: Eric Cantona. He showed me that you can really screw up, but come back and be better.

Me: Is SOTM your day job?

Mario: No – it’s my passion but it actually costs me money. I’m a journalist for the BBC News website.

SOTM - OMG! We got the wrong guy!
Me: Do you have a favourite quote/picture?

Mario: Sting was once asked which of his songs was his favourite – he replied that he loved all his children. I feel the same way, but I’m particularly fond of this one, although I think this one is the most powerful image on the site. Her face is sorrow.

SOTM - I just don't like you

Me: What can we (the blogosphere) do to help with the world tour?

Mario: There’s more info on the tour here World Tour Update One and the original announcement is here I need people in the places that I’m visiting to meet, who can introduce me to people who’ll pose for SOTM. I need people to translate in various countries, and I also need places to stay for a few days on my journey. Any offers of help of any kind will be hugely appreciated.

Me: How many pictures are you aiming to take on your trip?

Mario: I’d like to take 1,000! So I need to meet a lot of people.

Me: How would people go about joining in with SOTM? Do they need to be at specific events?

Mario: I will be organising meetups in various places but also people can tweet @SOTMario or email me to get in touch that way and I can meet them wherever they are in the places that I’ll be visiting.

Me: What’s your favourite place you’ve travelled to so far for a SOTM picture (or in general)?

Mario: I went to New York City for a holiday/SOTM trip and had a superb time. I took some great SOTMs and made lovely friends. Doing single trips like that has made me realise just how wonderful a SOTM world tour would be.

Me: Do you have any advice for other photographers / bloggers out there?

Mario: Make sure that whatever it is you’re doing, you’re doing it for yourself without the idea that it’ll make you rich or famous. Don’t do things that you think lots of people will like – create things that you want to create, just for yourself. You’ll achieve better results that way. Stay true to your own principles, and do things that you like above anything that might be purely crowd-pleasing. The first email I ever sent was to Terry Pratchett, and his reply stated that I had to do things my way and hope that others liked it – that’s what he’d done, he said.


You can find SOTM on Twitter and Facebook or you can go straight to the website here. He’s also on Instagram.

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