Portfolio Rejection

I recently sent a portfolio of my work to a certain photography publication. This organization specializes in showing contemporary fine art photography so I thought my work may be of some interest to them. Oddly a few weeks later I received a very annoyed response from them. It went something like this…”Taylor, this is a PHOTOGRAPHY magazine, that means we publish photography and relevant issues. Perhaps you should send your illustrations to a more fitting venue. Do more research before submitting your work and avoid wasting everybody’s time.” Ummm…Ok. I laughed and then paced a hole in my floor. Now whats odd here isn’t the fact that they confused my work with some other type of medium, its odd that they actually sent me that response.

To be honest I am not surprised at the magazines reaction, in fact most people react this way when they first see my photographs. Whether its because my work resembles paintings or looks like nothing else in the photography world, I’m not sure. A couple of years ago I was showing my work at an art fair in Nashville. Not one person that walked up immediately recognized my images as photographs, a few still didn’t believe it after I told them it was. I remember one man (a photographer) began to barrage me with questions about how this could be and how it was done. He accused me of using photoshop and seemed to get a little upset when I (very politely) told him my images were not digitally manipulated but I would prefer to keep the specifics of my method to myself. On one hand I like the fact that my images are this hard to comprehend but on the other it is really an obstacle.

I would have liked to have received some press for my work but I am going to take away their NO as a win. I mean its kind of funny right? A cutting edge photography publication can’t recognize photography. It makes me think I am doing something right. I am glad that my photographs don’t resemble everything else out there. Better yet their response confirmed my suspicions that I have been written off several times due to the fact that my work is mistaken for something other than photography. I know now I need to find a away to tell viewers what they are looking at…my wheels are turning. While I won’t name the magazine I think that maybe they should take their own advice and do more research on the work they review. (Come on I had to take one pop shot) Maybe from now on I should just title all of my images “This Is A Photograph”.

This Is A Photograph

“This Is A Photograph”


64 thoughts on “Portfolio Rejection

  1. If that’s a photograph, and I believe you, it is in my paralce pretty f__king cool. Is that an oil stain, or colors swirled together. I’m a poet so I deal with ‘reality’ in language but am a freak for abstractions of any kind. Has this been on Pinterest because the title seems familiar. I could be totally off thew mark about what it is. It isn’t micro photography of some sort is it? I know2 notrhing about your art fortm excdept I love black and white most of all, and loved what Sontag had to sayh about representational images ion film. But this is art and that’s different. Wish you luck how ever you go man.>KB

  2. Yes, I hjave seen your pieces in the past and always liked them, you don’t post quite that often and I have so much going on I’d forgotten aqbout beginning following you in I think early June. Cool stuff.>KB

  3. I think you should respond to their rejection in equally angry terms and ask them to reconsider your work and apologize profusely. If they still don’t believe you, perhaps you should talk to a lawyer about libel….

  4. I think if you look at it from the other side, they may think you just took a photo of a painting, in context they must receive more than a few abstract or impressionist submissions.

    This said, they have shown a total disregard for the artistic process and, in the very least case, shown a distinct lack of customer empathy. It would appear you received a personal reply aimed at ridicule from someone that lacks any experience or skills in this area, from my experience publishers very rarely respond to people that submit, or at least I have found this in my case.

    I have found that the magazines rarely look for a winner but follow an agenda we don’t see. Otherwise it would be an independent individual or a panel that would choose the image.

    I find your work refreshing and vibrant, and as you have said, a niche area, choosing to use photography for this art is unique and, if I might add different.

    I might suggest that you include a screen capture of the process at various stages and an explanation of your approach to accompany any future submissions as, from what you have seen, publishers are not artists, in your case I’d suggest they are Stuckists, possibly the worst thing to call anyone in the creative industry.

    I hope you persevere, you have the vision for expressing the mind, that’s both rare and brave!

  5. Unfortunately, the world is filled with idiots – and the letter that you received from the photo mag simply proves that the editorial staff there is included among the idiots.

    It is beautiful work. You produce marvelous art.

  6. It’s uncalled for to actually insult an artist in a rejection letter. A simple ‘not interested’ or silence has always been sufficient. Sometimes I think you just get someone on a bad day! If you told them it was photography and this was how they handle it I say blow them off!

    Otherwise, if they really had no way of knowing, maybe it’s worth a 2nd try, but make it clear it’s photography, up front, in a way they can’t miss it. A second rude reply would be clear evidence they’re not the company you thought they were.

    I wish I still had the worst rejection letter I ever got, several pages long and vicious. Doubt the company spent that kind of time and effort on rejections normally, I probably got a disgruntled employee that day. Didn’t stop me from being an artist, but I didn’t buy their products again for about 20 yrs!

  7. Perhaps THEY should do more research on your work and stop wasting everyone’s time by being so terrible! At least you could find some humor in the irony of this, though. 🙂

  8. Bigger and better things are yet to come. I truly admire your work! It would even be a challenge to paint that myself! Please keep sharing your photos! You could even start your own magazine and name it “This Is Photography” haha. Blessings to you and yours and your work!

  9. Tell us the magazine name and we will protest, your work is amazing shame on them instead of looking for new innovative ideas they are stuck with the same old photos, just tell us and we will help. Love this one Taylor the movement and color, just beautiful.

    P.S. you should contact them

  10. As a pacer as well, I salute you. Having no prior acquaintance with your work, I do appreciate their confusion if not their rude ways. The title that jumped out at me was “This is a photography but not a pipe.”

    Now I will look more deeply and try to share a little of your vision and a little less of the confusion (though I like a little of the fog of confusion in my pocket, but not pipes so much.)

      • It’s the from a Magritte Painting named (I think you will lovehis title, I think) La trahison des images/The Treachery of Images. And in it, Magritte paints a pipe and the phrase “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” which is to say, “This is not a pipe.”

        And so your title made me think of his phrase. I think your title idea-rhymed with his painting. For all the mental flip flopping your title causes and the ideas that shake loose like spray from a dog’s coat, shaking free of one thing or another – perhaps shaking free of a category but still enjoying the splashing, or something. Anyhow, those guys liked to jigger with things too. And of course, to paint.

  11. I love your work, the fact its been rejected for not being a photograph makes it all the better. Ive been lucky, very lucky, Ive just been asked to do a piece on my light projection work for a new magazine. Good luck.

  12. Beautiful! and fascinating – i would love to know how it’s done, but that’s because i’m a nerd and like to know how things are done. I also accept how you might not like to tell people how it’s done.
    Incidentally, people can never work out how my paintings are done either… I explain, but they just look more confused! So maybe it’s best just to keep quiet like you have done. Love the 100% photography captions, though 🙂

  13. I have to say, whoever sent that letter to you from the magazine was incredibly unprofessional in their reply. The purpose of a rejection letter isn’t to insult and belittle the person being rejected. I would have been irate with them. Yet there is a bright side you can look on, that being that a photography magazine doesn’t recognize photography. I find it amusing that they don’t!
    At first, I, too, thought some of them were perhaps digital paintings. But after reading this post and discovering that they are indeed photos, I was pleasantly surprised! I’m not sure how it’s done (I dabble very little in this media; I have a few theories on how some effects were achieved) but I can tell it’s not digitally manipulated. I’ve done manipulations in certain art programs and they often times get a weird appearance that your work doesn’t have. So I give you kudos for your amazing photographic skills!
    I wish you luck in getting recognition. Your work is certainly eye catching and amazing. 🙂

    • Thank you for the comment. I agree it is quite quite amusing. I complete understand anyone at first glance mistaking my photos for some other type of media. If saw them for the first time I would most likely think the same. However, you would think someone looks at photography for a living would slow down and a pay closer attention to what they were looking at….
      I appreciate your kind words, all the best to you!

  14. Thank you for recently following my photo-blog. I am new to yours and whether one wants to call what you do painiting or photography or whatever, you are talented and marketable. Yes, def learn from this so called “rejection.” But as far as I’m concerned the publication is the one who is missing out.

  15. That looks amazing. If one would tell me, these are photographs I would be skeptic at first too, but they are incredibly beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us. I can sink in them forever. Great work and fuck those idiots 😉
    Stand upright, Jona

  16. You are awesome. Your photography is awesome. I may be a little high on tea and lack of sleep, but for that title “This Is A Photograph” you get my follow.
    You’ve raised the bar high, so now there are expectations to live up to. No pressure though 😉

    On a serious note (not that the somewhat jokey tone of my comment stream so far ought to imply a lack of seriousness): Hope you get some press coverage for your work. If I thought I could afford it, I’d by that photo. You know the one? The “This Is A Photograph” one hehe.

  17. I’m delighted at all the response that this post has generated. The gatekeepers are often using interns to help them. It might have been a slow day and he decided to write back. Often they get an arrogance by association. I would submit again directly to the editor including a capture of the processs as Scottvison suggested. Don’t even mention the incident ans see what happens. Good blog writng!

  18. hope ‘that is not a photograph of some painting :-))
    i think that when you send the controversial work like this to photography magazines, you can explain in text attached about the technics.. actually i would like to know – what exactly it is ..

    • haha… I have a friend who not so long ago asked me..”why don’t you just sell the paintings you take pictures of..”.I said I don’t paint and they are not photos of paintings. Her reaction was great,”..wait..what..no..wait..wtf..”.
      I appreciate your advice and I did explain in text that they were photographs and also said I would not reveal the method. I think that many of these people..”the gate keepers”.. have such a high volume of work to review that it comes down to a quick glance, sadly. This makes it hard for both parties the artist and the curator. The question is then..how do you get around this?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s