Writing for Australian Photography Magazine

As I related in my previous update, I was fortunate to have one of my seascape images selected for the September, 2011 cover of Australian Photography magazine.

What I didn’t mention is that there was something else in the making with regard to the magazine.

One day in August I received a call from editor Robert Keeley regarding my cover image submissions.  Later in the afternoon he called again, and I presumed it was about the status of my cover image, but he needed to discuss something else altogether.

On his desk were prints of two of my images I had weeks earlier submitted to the magazine for its regular photography competition.  He was impressed with the images, but one of them really grabbed his attention.  He told me that he saw a story in my image, and asked me if I’d consider writing a feature article for the magazine on the type of photography I had been practising.

That was an unexpected but pleasant surprise!

The catch was that my image could not be entered into the competition if it were to form part of a feature article.  I was told to give it some thought and let him know which path I wanted to take.

Competitions are a dime a dozen, but the invitation to write an article isn’t something that comes along very often, if at all.  Freelance writing for photography magazines is something I had never even considered.

A few days later I called Robert and gave him my decision.  At this stage there was no rush to complete the article.  However, a week or two later, I received another call.  Through circumstance, he needed my article sooner than expected, so I needed to quickly commence writing.  I sent him ten images relating to my article’s subject, and he expressed interest in eight of them and asked me to write about them.

He ran me through the motions and requirements and provided me with the editorial guidelines.  He was keen for me to make sure I got it right so that he could easily run the story.  The man is insanely busy and the process of putting the magazine together is even more frantic and insane.  Contributors need to get it right to make the process easier for the editor, or else being left on the editing room floor is a very likely outcome.

This week, I commenced working on my article, and submitted my first draft.

Today I received a call from the editor, and to my shock I was told that the article was 90% of the way there in terms of suitability.  There are a few minor changes to make, and some other formalities to handle, but after the time I spent on my article this week, and my associated worry over the draft article’s suitability to his and the magazine’s requirements, I was relieved that I had reached this point without needing to do any major re-work.

My article is to appear in the November issue of the magazine.

What I can say about this journey, apart from it being quite a privilege and new experience, is that writing for a magazine is very difficult, as space is extremely limited.  My writing style is fairly liberal, but unfortunately the world of print-based feature article writing doesn’t permit the sort of latitude I’d like; it’s far removed from blogs and Internet forums.

Condensing my article’s content and trimming details upon which I’d prefer to have elaborated was not an easy task, and I expected that my content would be ruthlessly edited.  Of course, it’s still subject to editing before it finds its way onto paper!

I’ll post an update once the magazine has been published.

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