Dozing polar bear, Indianapolis Zoo

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Rejected by my stock agency

It's always fun when you get an entire submission dinged en masse. Here are a few of the unlucky.

Forest burned in the 2003 fires in Glacier National Park at sunset.

A rainbow emerges at Logan Pass after a late summer rainstorm.

Mt. Hood and the Columbia River at sunset.

One thing that consistently cracks me up is how frequently, whether an image is marketable bears no relation to the amount of effort put in to getting the image. See that pic of the panther sign in the Everglades in the widget? I took that out of a car window with a 4 megapixel point and shoot just to use on this blog. I submitted it once I realized it might have some stock value, and it got accepted. Whereas the silhouette of Mt. Hood above was taken after I spent thirty minutes scrambling around a road off I-84 angling for the best angle, hopping around to avoid used condoms and broken glass. For stock purposes, the panther sign is just superior. But I had more fun with the Mt. Hood shot. So that compensation has to be enough for now.

Like I told Tony after I spluttered about it over IM this afternoon, this frustration is as old as photography itself. I just use this posting category as a means to vent it a little. For me, I cannot get past the rejection and onto the truth -- and therefore the learning -- unless I work out the frustration first. Complicating the matter is how little time I have to shoot. If I were able to shoot every day, the individual failures would not matter as much, because I would have an easy opportunity to correct them in the near future. But I am the mother of a five-year old who is not only trying to maintain some semblance of one career in a demanding field, I'm also trying to do this. That's hard. And the feeling of impotence that comes with that is sometimes hard to handle. Blogging helps.

Update: Tony observed that there were "birds" on the images. Or, as the case may be, dust specks from the scan. These aren't the versions I submitted. These are the low-res, less carefully scanned versions I use on the blog to prevent pirating.


Lewis said...

You know that we all love you and think the world of your photos. Seriously, amazing pics that stir numerous emotions. Spec or no spec.

Tony said...

Yes, amazing pictures. Someday, I hope to become your photography apprentice!

Now, back to camera shopping :)

Trailhead said...

Aww, thanks guys.

Not every rejection causes this degree of frustration. Sometimes I expect it, or even agree with it. I'm even hard pressed to disagree with these -- it's just that the frustration sometimes gets the better of me, and it's usually in my slow photography season, ie now.

Tony, keep me posted on your camera shopping.

Rurality said...

I really don't get it... these look like great pics to me.

Now, the Snow Eagle... I loved it! But I can see why it wouldn't work for stock, maybe. But these? Nope, don't get it. (Unless they just already have too many like it...?)

Trailhead said...

Thanks for the kind words. :) Actually, in terms of representing a theme photographically, I would have thought the snow eagle would work better for stock. For example, it's an unusual way to illustrate the concept of public humiliation, or the undignified appearance of the eagle, presumably the poster-child for dignity, blah blah blah.

But I will say that I've noticed that the more "traditionally feminine" a nature image looks, the less likely they are to pick it up -- at least with respect to my images. I would have thought that the pic of the burned forest would have escaped that, since it at least demonstrates a particular natural phenomenon. But the pinks and the rainbows are common stuff in nature shots, so maybe that's it. When I look at my collection of landscapes, it's the clearer, colder, starker images that get accepted. That's really the only trend I can identify, and with multiple editors reviewing images, who the hell knows whether it's even accurate. Ultimately I can only submit and not give a crap about my photographer's rating! And then post the rejects here. :)

Rurality said...

I guess I keep thinking about stock being used mainly either for ads or for magazine stories. I was thinking, well what would you match with that... but I guess really it's used for a lot of things.