The Year of the Vanishing Photographs

This is most frustrating. I just spoke with the editor of Foto Life (フォトライフ) magazine in Japan about two submissions I sent to them, one in November of 2009 and one last year in September. The editor said he didn’t receive either of them and as I am a foreigner he said he would certainly remember receiving any submissions from me (submissions from foreigners don’t happen there). He didn’t even say that he would look into where the photos might have ended up. He just said that he didn’t receive them and if anything comes up he would let me know. Put that together with Outdoor Japan still not having returned the photos they requested from me back in the fall of 2009 and the missing submission to Outdoor Photography in the U.K. and we are looking at some serious problems.

I first began submitting photos to magazines back in 1993 and in all the years since I never had any problems with having photos returned to me. I knew there was a risk that photos might get lost but it never happened. Now suddenly three different companies aren’t returning my stuff. One simply won’t reply to my requests, one admits that they have only a record of receiving my submissions but nothing after that, and now this company says they never even received either submission, though they agreed I had the correct address. I admit I took a chance by sending things by post and not by courier but still what are the chances of four submissions all disappearing within a year or so?

Now the result of a call to another magazine is that they have no record of receiving my submission, though the person in charge is away until Thursday and in this case I sent the submission by courier and I have the way bill. I truly hope that my photographs start turning up. This is definitely a reason to submit scans and not originals, though most of my originals have backups in case of loss.

I will wait and see but I am not getting my hopes up. I have lost faith in submitting original material. Whether it’s the postal system or the staff at the publishers, there’s a problem out there.

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2 responses to “The Year of the Vanishing Photographs

  1. I share your pain, having had a couple of mountain slides (fortunately duplicates) returned from the printer slubbered in glue. Outrageous! But why not bypass the pesky printing industry altogether and put some of your estimable photos up on this blog – or another blog – together with some background commentary (some cultural, some technical), somewhat like Galen Rowell in Mountain Light, but internet-enabled? Would be a good way of getting your name about and showing some of your photos…. And you never know what it might lead to.

    • PH, since I discovered the power of tags and how they lead so many strangers to my photos on Flickr, ArtWanted, my web site, and my blogs, I have felt no time is wasted posting on the Net. In fact, with there being little to write about these days for the Sanmyaku blog I have been considering doing exactly what you just suggested, a kind of Mountain Light for The Japan Alps. But finding the time isn’t easy these days with work and two kids and I often think that submitting directly to magazines has a better potential for turning coins than simply posting in the vast universe of cyberspace. But I will try to keep up as best as I can. Thanks for reading and for your comment!

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