Your photos are beautiful but…

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Thank you for sending your query to ____________ magazine. Your photographs are beautiful! The magazine has not published photo essays in the past, but that may change in the future.

I was thrilled when the managing editor of a magazine, known for the beautiful photography it uses to annotate its stories, wrote the words, Your photographs are beautiful! to me in an email response to a proposal I sent. And though this didn’t lead immediately to a gig, the editor is passing the proposal on to the editor in chief for consideration. It’s from tiny acorns such as these that little oak trees of hope blossom.

First, though, I have to build up my photo library.

I’ve finished putting my photo albums together and I have some regrets that most of the photos, taken with a digital camera, can’t be used in publications because of their low resolution. Some, but not much.

The problem with film photography is that the costs can be prohibitive, especially if you use professional film and development. With the digital camera, there were no costs involved and I felt free to experiment, try new things, explore new territory. By doing this, I was able to find not only the type of photography I enjoy – journalistic photography, not what is known as ‘art’ photography – but also to post examples online and get excellent, brilliant, and spot on feedback from readers, as I wrote about a few days ago.

In the meantime, I’m using my low resolution photos when I send out ideas to publications. However, I am not just sending queries about possible photography assignments; I’m also sending ideas and suggestions for stories, essays, and articles to technical, fictional, travel, nature, and community-based publications. This is in addition to two book ideas I’m putting together – one on technology and one that’s social/political/cultural flavored. I’m fairly sure the technical one will get a nibble, and I have hopes for the other.

If you can’t tell from this flurry of activity, I’ve stopped trying to find a fulltime computing gig. If I can find small jobs, short term contracts or gigs working at home (or abroad, which would be even better), I’ll grab them – but my days as a full time technology architect working for a single company are over. I reached burn out in California, and it shows in the interviews. My resume is too good not to have a job; it’s not the resume or my knowledge or my experience – it’s been me.

Before you all howl “Don’t quit your day job!”, be aware that I’m am looking for employment, but right now, I’m focused on temporary and seasonal work, and whatever I can grab short term. Since I no longer have to worry about bill payments other than my car and health insurance, I can get by on earning smaller amounts of money – I don’t have to go just for the high priced architect jobs.

(Anyone want a damn good technical architect or senior level software developer for a short term assignment, at basement prices? Throw in a few rolls of film, and I’m yours.)

Dorothea wrote today that she doesn’t have a lot of patience with the do-your-dream crowd. I can see her point, you have to be practical. No one is going to take care of you, you have to take care of yourself. But when you’re pushing 50 (49 in a few weeks), sometimes your dreams are the only thing that keeps you going.

I know about doing what needs to be done – when you’ve ironed ties for a living, you can hack most anything. It’s been a while since I fried hamburgers or stocked shelves, but if I must, I will. Hopefully a new book and some articles will preclude having to pursue this option, knock on squishy white bread buns. However, regardless of what I do to pay for Zoe’s kitty kibbles, I am a writer. Nothing’s going to change this but going to sleep some day and not waking up again.

My only regret is that I’m too old to get good tips as a bar maid. Darn it.

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