The Road Is Yet Long

Or so it seems.

This first real post was going to be a positive one celebrating my success this year. I was riding the train home and composing the post in my head. I wanted to mention the several publications that featured either my photography or my writing, or both. I was mentally tallying up the sum of remunerations received for the publication of my work. I know it is somewhere near 400,000 yen, which is the most I have ever earned in a single year from published works alone. If I could rake in that amount every month then I would be living the dream for certain and not be sitting at the desk of a small private English school uploading my post to my blog site.

The success of this year carried over from the year before and some payments I received early in the year were for images selected for 2008 calendars, published in October last year. Furthermore, images accepted at the end of this year promise payment, and thus income, for the New Year. With much to be pleased about I have prepared a long list of ideas for submissions to complete as soon as possible, though these things do take time.

As I was thinking and composing, it occurred to me that I had not heard anything from Outdoor Photography in the U.K. about my Patagonia submission. How long had it been since I had sent it? Perhaps it was soon time to call and inquire. I checked the world clock on my phone and saw it was -9 hours to London time – 1:32 PM. I decided to make a note to call them next week after my classes.

My relationship with OP took off in 2005 when I sent them an article about photographing in the Japan Alps, an article which Photo Life in Canada had just rejected. After three months I rang up OP and was told by a very kind and pleasant woman, Tracy, that they had just concluded a meeting and that my article would appear in the January 2006 issue. The outcome was better than that. The Winter 2005/06 issue (between the Dec. and Jan. issues) used a photo of mine to introduce the next issue’s feature articles; the Jan. issue used my photo on the contents page and another one on the travel section contents page, as well as the article itself which covered three pages and included four photographs. The payment was rather handsome too, and I was well encouraged to continue submitting to OP.

But my next three submissions were all rejected. An article about my trip to Hawaii Island and photographing lava rock was returned with a note, “Great images; narrowly missed the short list.” Another article about photographing in Asian Cities, which was inspired by the encouraging comments of the editor to reader asking about outdoor photography in cities, was returned as well. Then I sent my article about Huang Shan, the Yellow Mountains of China. It came back almost within a month, rejected, possibly because I had mentioned that the same article had appeared in Nature Photographer the year before. Each time was the same sterile note about narrowly missing the short list.

So, how about my Patagonia article? I came home and found the answer on the desk where my wife leaves my mail. There were my article and photos, once again rejected. This time, however, the reason for rejection stated that they had run a similar story recently. To soften the discouragement of being rejected yet again, Tracy had added a note saying that my photos were great and she would love to see more article ideas from me. Bless her. She remembers me and took the time to add a few words.

So while in the shower, I searched my brain for ideas and came up with not one but seven ideas. Preparing submissions does take time though, a topic for another post. So what I am thinking to do now is send a letter to dear Tracy directly with my ideas and see if she thinks it would be worth it for me to send any of them. I would dearly love to see my works published in Outdoor Photography U.K. again. It’s a high quality magazine and they pay well. Plus the status of being internationally published is something I must struggle to maintain.


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