Tag Archives: magazines

Kingdom of Sedimentary Rock in Print

This week the June issue of “Nippon Kamera” has landed itself on bookstore shelves, and within the portfolio pages near the front appears my contribution of photographs.

Entitled “Kingdom of Sedimentary Rock”, the portfolio consists of six images captured in Utah and Nevada during my visit to that area in October of 2010. On pages 82 and 83, all contributors to the portfolio pages are shown in a small mug shot along with a brief text explaining their portfolio and a briefer bio. I received a complementary copy on Saturday and was very excited to see how my latest published piece turned out.

The first thing I noticed and greatly appreciated was the reproduction quality of the images. My photographs are tack sharp and the colour is great. In one image of very strong reds and oranges, it is a little difficult to discern the details in the setting; however, this is not a fault in the printing but a result of the very warm light of the sunrise shining on the rust-coloured sandstone. That the location is The Valley of Fire makes is very appropriate to have such flaming colours. In particular, I like a photo of two rock towers in Bryce Canyon because the direct sunlight and reflected light offer good contrasts in lighting and wonderful details in the rocks. This spectacular crispness of detail I attribute to the fact that five of the images were captured with my Tachihara 4×5 and the one other image with my Bronica 645. Nothing like medium and large format for sharp images in a magazine page. Nippon Kamera’s scanning must also be really good.

Regarding the photographs, I have only two disappointments. The first is that Zion Canyon, which became one of my favourite places I have ever visited, was represented here in a solitary image of a stone in wet mud near the placid waters of the Virgin River North Fork. All those awesome cliffs and canyon walls reflecting orange or blue light that I had desired so much to see in print were not selected. The other disappointment is that the final image of a rock known as a “Bee Hive” in The Valley of Fire is printed on the page opposite an advertisement featuring a young woman in a very active and dynamic pose. The poor rock, no matter how beautiful, can hardly compete! Couldn’t they have put a less eye-catching image on that page?

The explanatory text was sadly edited down from over 1,100 characters to just over 300. The original text contrasted the rather vertical geologic history of Japan with mountains rising and volcanoes collapsing to the mostly horizontal geologic history of the centre of North America with sedimentary layers from seas, deserts, deltas, and river valleys piling up over millions of years before being uplifted and fractured and cut by rivers. I had to strip away paragraph after paragraph until only a brief summary of the geologic history of the area (the Colorado Plateau) remained.

As for my short bio, here is where the most surprises showed up. I was asked to provide a bio which I did. However, what was printed was a combination of parts of what I had submitted and snippets from my Japanese blog. I had noticed a few weeks ago that someone had been visiting that blog, using my name for the search. Some changes are as follows:

My Tachihara field camera became a Linhof field camera.

I wrote that I came to Japan in 1999. The magazine says 1997 (a vacation trip only).

The magazine mentions that I visited New Zealand. Fair enough. What about all the other countries I have visited? But since they published my New Zealand photographs previously it kind of makes sense.

I wrote that I had self-published a book on the Japan Alps. The magazine mentions my books “Earth Tones” and “Earth Cycles” as well as an older POD book from many years ago called “Nature Song”. This was my earliest effort at self-publishing and done more for fun than anything else because the cost was not economical. I was hoping to promote the Alps book the most.

Finally, they wrote that I am a member of the All Japan Alpine Photography Association and the Society for Scientific Photography in Japan. I requested time out while my daughter was young and did not pay my membership dues for the last two years. Only just this month did I reactivate my membership with the Society for Scientific Photography.

Overall though, there’s plenty to be pleased about. As Michael Saddler of the Canadian rock band Saga once said, “As long as they get the name right.” In the end I am the only one who will care about the erroneous information anyway.

Check out the latest issue of “Nippon Kamera 日本カメラ” in book stores now!

Some of my photographs in Nippon Kamera magazine. Image created with Diptic app for iPhone.

Some of my photographs in Nippon Kamera magazine. Image created with Diptic app for iPhone.

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In Fact It Isn’t

I was very excited but had barely managed to pull it off. It was early summer of 2004 and I was sitting down to an interview with the editor of “Shiki no Shashin – Four Seasons Photos” (no longer in print) in a café near my home station. The theme was “Magic Hour”, a term I thought worthy of introducing to Japanese photographers. The editor had almost called off the whole plan because his image of magic hour didn’t match the impression he got from the photos I submitted. Thankfully, a quick explanation about Galen Rowel’s work changed his mind and the interview and subsequent two-page feature were back on schedule.

There were a few basic questions the editor asked me and my answers would comprise the bulk of the text. When the piece was published several weeks later, though, I was a bit surprised. Aside from the glaring caption error which mislabelled Tsubakurodake as Akadake, a couple of my replies to the questions did not sound quite right.

The first question asked if there was any particular experience I had had that lead me to choosing the theme of “magic hour”. My reply describes a particular morning by a lake in Nagano and after a colourful description of the predawn sky colour drama, I am reported as saying that it was that very morning that inspired me to begin pursuing the theme. Actually, this was not the case as I had been photographing “magic hour” light for over a decade prior to that morning in Nagano.

Another question mentioned that many of my magic hour photos include mountains. At the time, I answered something about enjoying photographing mountains and the light being very good at higher elevations. The quote ascribed to me in the magazine started with, “Japanese mountains are very photogenic”.

These two examples had me wondering: do Japanese people want to feel that foreigners find Japan such a wonderful place of beauty and inspiration? Perhaps there is the notion that foreigners who discover some new joy in Japan can sell a story.

This thought became reinforced during my next interview a few years later with “Gakujin” magazine, a mountaineering publication. Once again, I sat down for an interview and spent two hours or so responding to questions for a four-page feature. When a PDF was sent to me to look over and check the captions and text I was quite surprised to learn that upon coming to Japan I had opened an English school! Indeed, I had gotten a job working for one very quickly but I have never had any intention to open a school. Was this supposed to make the story more interesting or just a misunderstanding?

There were other factual amendments too. A paragraph about a pen pal I had in Gunma said that we had become very close chums. We maintained a respectably good friendship for some years but were never as close as the writer had suggested.

The fabricated text that was the most remarkable, however, was “my” account of a friend’s story after he had been working in Japan for a few months and had returned to Canada for a visit.

“In Japan there are many mountains and wide green forests, and crystal clear rivers flow. It’s a beautiful country.”

The praise heaped upon Japanese nature seems conspicuous when you consider that one Canadian is talking to another. Had he actually said such a thing to me, I might have thought along these lines: “Dude, we are, like, 27 times bigger than them and we have only a quarter the population, ergo we have way more land and tonnes more nature. Our Rocky Mountains alone cover more surface area than the whole country of Japan. What are you on about?” The truth is that he said almost nothing about Japanese nature except that he had seen a sign by a cliff-top viewpoint telling potential committers of suicide to be mindful of the people walking below the cliff before jumping.

For the most part, these little artistic liberties taken by the writers don’t bother me too much, though I tend to be a stickler for factual accuracy and it bothers me terribly to find an error in a published text that I wrote and checked myself before submitting it, never mind words put in my mouth by someone else.

On a related note, one magazine rejected my photo submissions of Canadian and Andean mountains scenes, their reason being that they already had many Japanese photographers with such photos. I was asked instead if I didn’t have any photos of Japanese scenery to submit.

I have come to presume that Japanese writers and editors want to make it seem that foreigners love Japan so much and that there is no better place to be. Hey, I don’t deny that the nature here is beautiful and the mountains photogenic. But given that I spent ten years traveling and photographing in Canada (and grew up there!), one can assume correctly that it is not Japanese nature in particular that inspired and motivated me in any way, artistically speaking.

If anything, it is the ease of accessibility to the mountains that has provided me with opportunities to climb up rugged and steep peaks whose Canadian counterparts I would never have attempted due to the technical difficulties involved. Yet since it seems to me that editors are looking for gushing praise of Japan from foreigners, I have to keep in mind that when I provide my own text with my photographs I should include a favourable nod to my host nation. After all, we want the readers to feel that foreigners are so inspired to stay here that they will gladly forsake the nature of their own countries in order to revel in the natural beauty of Japan along with the natives.

Magic Hour in Shiki-no-Shashin

Magic Hour in Shiki-no-Shashin

Gakujin tells my story, not all of it entirely accurate

Gakujin tells my story, not all of it entirely accurate

It’s Up to You

Sometime in late May or early July, I received a message from a Mr. Kamiya in the editorial department of Yama-to-Keikoku magazine. Kamiya-san had been my contact when YamaKei (Yama-to-Keikoku’s nickname) published four of my photographs earlier this year in their Mountaineer’s Data Book, an annual supplement that comes with the January issue. Kamiya-san’s message said that YamaKei was planning to hold a discussion forum with foreign mountaineers, the theme being mountain manners and etiquette. I was certainly pleased to be asked and responded that I would be interested in participating. Details would come later.

About a week after our initial dialogue, I received further information which included a list of topics that we’d be asked about. Questions included things like, “What are some aspects of Japanese mountaineering that you find odd?” “How does mountain etiquette in Japan differ from that in your home country?” and “What aspects of Japanese mountaineering etiquette impress you?” In addition to the questions I was told that one of the three people they had originally asked had had to cancel, and as I had previously mentioned that I knew of some other foreign mountaineers of Japan, they asked me to contact them on behalf of the magazine. I sent messages to a Briton in Yamanashi and an American, Wes Lange, in Osaka. Of the two, Wes was free to come up to Tokyo. I was really pleased about that because Wes and I had exchanged comments and messages on the Net but had never actually met. This would be a chance to finally meet a new friend.

Wes and I met up a little before the meeting and took a moment to discuss our answers to the questions, he having given it a lot more serious thought than I had been able to conjure up. The meeting itself went very well, I felt. The third foreigner was a Frenchman named Matthieu Lienart. His command of Japanese was truly remarkable, certainly leagues ahead of mine. I was just grateful that the freelance writer who was recording our words and guiding the discussion was able to understand what I was trying to say. Matthieu is a licensed mountain guide who has worked in both Japan and France, though at the time he was looking for steady employment.

Three weeks after the discussion, I received my complimentary copy of the September issue that included four pages of us. Reading it over, I was able to further appreciate (and understand) some of the points that Matthieu had mentioned. One thing that really intrigued me was the European view of human activity in the mountains. Pointing out that Europeans have a long history of activity in the high mountains (hunting, cutting trees, mining, etc.) versus the fact that in Japan (where there are not the high valleys and plateaus that there are in Europe) religion dictated that the high mountains were the sacred abodes of the gods, Matthieu said that national parks in France are created not only to protect nature but to protect the historical livelihoods of the people who live there. This means that the maintenance of old houses is encouraged and the ways of life which include bringing livestock up to the alpine meadows for grazing in summer continues to be permitted. Matthieu expressed disdain for the stringent rules of the national park systems in North America. According to his perception, these places were not true nature but natural systems managed by human beings. I thought his perspectives were very important to our discussion because they added a third dimension to what was supposed to be just western ideas contrasted with Japanese ones. Now we had European, North American and Japanese views to compare. Had the third person not been a European but instead an Australian or New Zealander, we might not have had the same degree of contrast between the westerners’ viewpoints.

Matthieu’s other beef with the North American way was that there was too much regulation. In his blog (see link below), he wrote further explanation for the points he was making but which had to be edited down due to space constraints in the magazine. (Some of my points were cut too brief as well, I thought, but Matthieu’s arguments are more interesting to consider.) Reading over his post (entirely in Japanese!) I picked up on his point about over regulation. One thing that regulation leads to is user fees, and by chance or by design, the same issue features an article about the possibility of charging for entrance to some mountain areas in Japan. In addition, as Wes pointed out, some parks in the U.S. (and definitely in New Zealand as I have experienced and probably also in Canada) have a checkpoint where hikers must register and respond to questions about appropriate gear. If the warden deems you to be ill-equipped for the hike or climb then you will be denied access. Matthieu argued in the magazine and further on his blog that being properly equipped is a personal thing. He mentions people walking in sneakers on a glacier in France but points out on his blog that these is on the lower region of the glacier where there is no snow and the hard ice is easy to walk on. I have to admit that even though I pointed out at the discussion that Japanese often fail to change their climbing plans in spite of severely adverse weather (and as such there are deaths reported during every holiday period) I agree with Matthieu that each person is responsible for his own level of preparedness.

Let’s start a new paragraph here as I cite a couple of my own examples. One year in October I reached the trailhead leading up to Kasagatake and found that an unexpected blizzard had delivered 40 centimetres of fresh snow to the ridges and summits. A man at the hiker registration office advised me not to go up unless I had crampons with me. He said I could probably make it to Kagamidaira but after that I was advised not to climb higher. I went with a new plan in mind: to reach Kagamidaira and see how things looked from there. The day was warm and the snow was melting. From Kagamidaira I had not trouble reaching the Sugoroku tent site, and I hiked up on hard ice that night to the top of Momonokidake to see Yarigatake in the moonlight. Had the man at the registration office had the authority to deny me access to the trail due to my lack of preparedness for snow, I would have missed out on some beautiful views that led to a few great photographs. In May of 2010 I planned to climb Kita Hotakadake and knowing that there was going to be deep snow I ordered my first real pair of crampons. But the delivery was delayed and I did not receive the crampons in time. I went anyway and figured that I would see how far I could go with ascension snowshoes and small four-point crampons. The snowshoes were good in the early morning when the snow was iced over and the grips on the snowshoes could hold me on the slopes. But as the day warmed up, the slush only had me slipping around. There were so many people were climbing, however, that the deep foot holes made climbing relatively easy and I used the small crampons just for extra grip. When I reached the summit, a man said, “He climbed up in only small crampons!” Why not? I had been able to do it, hadn’t I?

A final note that Matthieu writes about on his blog: someone in the magazine mentions comfortable and safe experiences in the mountains. Matthieu rightly points out that comfortable and safe are not what mountaineering is about. I would add that it is exactly for the reason of moving out of our comfort zones and challenging ourselves in a dangerous environment that we go to climb. Since I have been climbing in Japan as opposed to hiking in Canada, I have learned a lot about myself and my ability to make quick decisions or change plans when necessary, or about challenging myself to get past some difficult section on an icy patch or rocky drop. Perhaps I ventured very near danger when a false move or a little too much applied weight could have had me tumbling down to broken bones or worse. But that I made it without a scratch was thanks my ability to feel the situation and find my way through it. I have learned and grown in the mountains. If mountain visits are meant to be comfortable and safe, says Matthieu, then you have places like Murododaira where the ease of access (trolley bus and cable cars), the abundance of comfortable lodging, and the certain paths that can be traversed in high heels make the place look like a “mountain-themed Disneyland”. His comments brought to mind remarks made by the late great climber/photographer/journalist Galen Rowel, who listed the Tateyama area and the Japan Alps in general as a Zone 1 (second worst out of ten zones) for wilderness experience, in a piece he once wrote for Outdoor Photography. Indeed, I firmly believe that the over-development around Yarigatake was the reason for the continuous chain of hikers waiting to climb up to the summit during my visit in 2007, and I brought this up at the meeting.

Perhaps Matthieu and I are not so far off in our ideas about the mountain experience. In a post-discussion message I sent to the writer, I mentioned that in Canada there are no mountains (that I know of) with lodging constructed near the summit. Minimal damage to the natural environment is encouraged, especially in national parks. This regulation of human activity is Matthieu’s number one gripe, but on the other hand, it prevents Murododaira’s from appearing in Canadian mountains. Furthermore, outside of the national parks there are plenty of wilderness provincial parks with no facilities whatsoever and also other places that are not even designated as anything other than wilderness. In these places, hikers are free to roam wherever they wish. Etiquette is left up to the individual, as is preparedness. In such places, wilderness is all there is to see. Only cairns mark the way sometimes. Here no one will tell you what you can and can’t do, and there are no hotels or huts with sleeping mats and duvets, or hot food and cold beer. Perhaps the paradox to proper wilderness management is to simply leave it alone and let the few hikers who are willing to venture into the true wild follow their own common sense. Overuse brings about environmental degradation. If the Japan Alps had no huts above the 1,500 metre mark, how much more pristine and lonely would the mountains be?

For further reading about the details of the discussion, please check out Wes’s post here.
And for Matthieu’s Japanese post explaining his views in more detail, read it here.

Look closely. Can you see all the people climbing up to the summit of Yarigatake? Talk about a popular peak!

The morning before I was warned that 40 cm of snow had fallen and without crampons I would not be able to climb up to the ridges and peaks. I went anyway and 24 hours later this is all that remained of the snow. Washibadake is the central peak.

My face and bio. Matthieu Lienart’s quote. Yama-to-Keikoku magazine, pages 40-43, September 2012 issue.

Earthquake – My story in Gakujin magazine

Earlier this year, I submitted a portfolio of Rocky Mountain photographs and a short essay to Gakujin (岳人) magazine. After some time, they called me and said they liked the photographs and the captions and essay were all fine but could I send them a short essay about the March 11th earthquake and why I was still in Japan (did I love Japanese mountains so much that I wanted to stay and continue shooting them or something like that). They also asked for a few photos of Japanese mountains and a photograph of me.

I had a story already in mind because I tried to get a newspaper in my Canadian hometown interested in my experiences on the day of the quake and the following weeks. I quickly wrote out my ideas and asked my manager at work to check over my Japanese. I sent the essay along with some photos from the Japan Alps and three snaps my wife had taken of me in the mountains.

The magazine went on sale on the twelfth of August but I received a copy two days in advance. All the photos I sent were used – 6 mountain and nature images and all three of myself. My story was printed with no amendments as far as I could tell. I got four pages. The Rocky Mountain piece was not used.

The results were both pleasing and disappointing. It’s always good to see my work in print and that the story was printed as I sent it and the photos all used is encouraging. In the story, I concentrated on my experience as a foreigner in Japan with friends and family overseas pleading for me to leave with my wife and children. I also wrote about how difficult it would have been for us to leave with a mortgage and car loan, all our possessions and my job. I mean, we could leave but what about once we came back? It’s very easy, I wrote, for people in a safe place to tell me to pack my bags and flee. But what of the consequences after the initial possibility of danger has passed? I concluded the piece mentioning the decision my wife and I had made to raise our kids in Japan and about my book about the Japan Alps and how I want to promote it here. The story itself seems to be good enough and a few people have complimented me on what I wrote.

The disappointments are that the Rockies piece was not used and I am not totally satisfied with what I wrote about the earthquake. Of course, for the Rockies I sent my best collection of photographs and put my heart into the text. If they had not intended to use the photographs then I wish they had simply said so up front. Or perhaps they will use them in a later issue? As for my earthquake story I found the word limit restricting and I feel the part about Japanese mountains was just tacked on a the end. I also just titled my piece “Earthquake” (地震), thinking that they had some idea in mind. In the end, the earthquake title was used with the subtitle “The Canadian Photographer Who Is Smitten by Japanese Alpine Beauty”. The photographs show this. The text is more about the earthquake. Somehow I felt the earthquake title doesn’t work well with the mountain photographs. But if the editor was satisfied with that (I did submit the requested material eight days prior to the deadline) then I guess that’s what he wanted for the magazine.

Overall, I can’t complain. I told my story, mentioned my book, and got my photographs published yet again.

My story in Japanese has been posted here.

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.

Stoking the Embers

Note: I was preparing this post on March 10 with the intentions of posting it on the 12th, but the earthquake and subsequent inconveniences put this post on hold. Here it is almost 2 weeks out of date.

I lived alone for six weeks while my wife and son stayed with her parents during the days leading up to and the first few weeks following the birth of our daughter. My day job kept me pretty busy and as usual I was rarely home before 10:30 p.m. on work days. During my weekends I went to spend a few hours at my in-laws’ house, mostly trying to keep my son occupied. The precious time I actually had at home was often spent slowly working my way through the great house cleaning project I had assigned myself. On the odd occasion, I simply sat down to watch a DVD or read. But in between I made sure to find time to work on the business side of my photographic pursuits.

One of the things I had decided to do was to contact magazines that still have material I sent out and see if I couldn’t stir up something that way. I contacted the following:

Outdoor Japan
They ran some of my photographs back in 2009 and they still haven’t returned them. Every time I send them a message suggesting ideas I could contribute to the magazine I tack on a reminder that my photos have still not been returned. The editor even told me over the phone last year that he would see about returning them to me but still nothing has appeared in my mailbox. I sent another message, proposing a few more ideas but after a few weeks I still haven’t heard anything.

Outdoor Photography Canada
After all the interest it seemed I was garnering in 2008 and 2009, and even the hint of a profile piece on me, the lines of communication had fallen silent. I sent a message to the editor a couple of weeks ago, asking if he could see about returning my photographs that he really felt he couldn’t use (he has five submissions of mine in total). He replied that he would like to get on with thinking about running something of mine and would try to be in touch later this year. I am still hoping for good news. I proposed another idea but haven’t heard anything more about that yet. And nothing has been returned either.

Outdoor Photography U.K.
After my initial success with getting published back in early 2006, I have since sent this magazine five more articles with photographs, and all but one of them have been returned with various reasons for why they were being sent back. My latest submission was about rocks and their photographic appeal. The submission went out in February of 2009. By May 2010 I decided to call and ask what was going on with the article. I asked to speak with a woman I always spoke to when I called previously. I was told she was no longer employed there but the person I spoke with said she would find out what was up and let me know. Well, no one called and finally a few weeks back I called them back to ask about my submission. A woman there said she would look into it. Two weeks later I got an email reply saying that there was no trace of my photographs or article in their office. Their data base had recorded receiving it on February 15th, 2009 and that it had come with an SAE and international reply coupons but that was all she could tell me. I sent a reply of gratitude for her efforts and then asked if the former employee I had known might be contacted to see if she knew anything. A month later and no reply has come.

Foto Kon / Foto Raifu
Two Japanese magazines received submissions from me between November 2009 and August 2010. Photo Kon actually returned my submission but Foto Raifu had said nothing after I sent them two submissions. I looked up their number and called them. At least, I thought I was calling Foto Raifu. I told the man on the phone that I had sent two submissions, the oldest being from November 2009, and he said someone would look into it and get back to me in a day or two. Two days later I received an email message saying that they had not received any submissions from a foreigner and before they really scour the office could I double check that I really had sent them my work. Immediately I recognized my mistake. I had called Foto Kon who had returned my work and not Foto Raifu who hadn’t. I sent my best embarrassed and apologetic reply. I hope they will be okay about future submissions from me.

I had every intention of calling Foto Raifu but this whole earthquake deal was responsible for a lot of temporary changes in my daily life. I must call soon though.

Canadian Geographic
Finally the surprise of the day was an email message from the former photo editor of Canadian Geographic, who chose over the years from 1995 to 1998 ten of my photographs in total for publication in that esteemed magazine’s pages. She also gave me my first assignment ever which took me to Winnipeg where I met that girl that changed my life and made me want to come to Japan. The email message was requesting a scan of a photo that was published way back in 1995. I rushed to a lab to have the slide scanned and emailed her the image the next day. It is nice to have that kind of thing happen, where an old business contact appears out of the blue and you rekindle the relationship.

I have also been working on my next Blurb book again, though problems with slide scans have delayed the project for over three months now. And I am still working through my next submission to my stock agency. So, even though I won’t be out photographing much this year, I am still trying to keep photographically active as much as I can.

Two of my photographs published in Canadian Geographic back in 1995. The gumbo evening primrose photograph on the right was requested again recently.

Interview with Myself

Some years ago I came across a new Canadian outdoor photography magazine aptly named Outdoor Photography Canada (not to be confused with Outdoor Photography in the U.K.). I became a subscriber almost right away mostly because I wanted to stay in touch with what was going on in outdoor photography back home but also because I was hoping to find another place to submit material for publication.

My first two offerings were based on previously published articles. The editor responded the very next day to my initial inquiry and said that the ideas sounded good but they were looking for unpublished work, so if I could rewrite them from the top down they might have a chance. I also noticed that they had a regular profile department featuring the works of various professionals and serious amateurs. I sent off my own profile piece with a batch of my best Canadian landscape images.

By the end of 2008, the editor said he liked my work and was hoping to find a spot for it in the coming year. In the summer of 2009, when I pitched two more ideas his way, the editor said they sounded good and he was thinking that it would be best to introduce me to the magazine’s readers with a profile feature first, and then use my articles in the future. If I didn’t hear from him before October I should send him a message.

This sounded very exciting. I began paying more attention to the profile pieces and read carefully what kinds of questions the photographers were asked and how they answered.

In October I sent off two more articles and a cover letter reminding the editor of what he had written back in August. When he had received my submissions he sent me a message saying that he was thinking I would do nicely in an ex-pat piece. At first I was disappointed. That’s all my efforts would boil down to: an ex-pat piece? Announce to everyone that I was no longer living in Canada and basically write me off as a future contributor? But then I had to think about it again. It was still an opportunity to get my work in the magazine. Besides, the ex-pat idea might just be the angle he was thinking to use for me. That didn’t mean all my submissions would be returned unused.

So with the latest issue having arrived in my mailbox just last week, I am now thinking carefully again about what kinds of questions I might be asked and how I can respond concisely and concretely, all the while maintaining a sense of my easy-going and humble disposition. I am interviewing myself in preparation.

But who is to say if this idea will actually be realized in the pages of the magazine? Maybe I am just dreaming somewhat narcissistically of my time in the limelight. But I have discovered one thing – all this thinking about my views and ideas of photography has helped me understand things about myself as a struggling photographer more and it has inspired me with an idea or two for a future article submission, if not to OP Canada then to another magazine.