Thursday, 9 August 2018

A Bit of a Rant...Sorry!

Everything in my head is telling me not to write this post... but I feel I have to, if nothing else, to make me feel a bit better, I think. Its been a while now since I knew of the new 'Britain's Dragonflies' Fourth Edition would be coming out but a while ago, it got me thinking as to where they sourced all their photos from. Having been quite heavily into dragonfly and damselfly photography for the past 6 years, I was somewhat surprised that maybe I had not been asked to submit a photo or two. You may think at this point that 'I should get off my high horse' and you may well be right but I can't help but feel that maybe I had a few photos to offer. You would be right in thinking that I take the photos because of my passion for these insects and that its a bonus to have photos in print but with all the effort I put in and the comments from others on the standard of most of the photos I take, its always a privilege to see your own photos in print, especially in the latest odonata book to hit the shelves. I'm sure I'm not the only one in this situation but with weekly blog updates and photos put on social media regularly, I can't believe the powers that be who select the photos do not see some of my work. Before my own head gets too big, there are many other excellent photographers out there whos photos are superb and to which I aspire to but having captured a number of photos which i'm told are worthy of inclusion, I am left feeling quite upset, angry as to why I was never asked, included or contacted. If they are not good enough, then that's fine but I am hoping therefore to see some amazing photos in this book. Even at this point, I'm telling myself to shut up so I will leave you with a couple of bog standard shots of a ropey Norfolk Hawker and an out of focus Southern Migrant Hawker. I'm going to take a step back for a bit with the dragonflies as this situation has really got to me and get on with some birding. Perhaps, I can take a photo of a bird in focus!
 
 Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles) - male, Obviously a lucky shot!
Southern Migrant Hawker (Aeshna affinis) - male, Just point and shoot!


27 comments:

  1. Not sure I entirely understand all this Marc.

    One thing for sure, I do understand your feelings about not having had some of your work selected for publication in this book, and it's difficult to know how those used where selected from the thousands of photographs available for these publications but you seem upset none of yours have been.

    But be assured by me Marc, and this is where it all begins to sound patronising but isn't, just facts. Your images are as good as any others I've seen, and in most cases surpass the excellence of all.

    You've taken a sit down by now I hope Marc, and do pour yourself a glass of whatever it is unwinds you, if you haven't already done so.

    Regards and Respect

    Pete.

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    1. Many thanks for your kind words Pete. Much appreciated.

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  2. I fully agree with Pete,your images are the best I've seen,and i understand how you feel,however they are the reel losers,not you.
    Please don't stop doing what you love,your photography always lifts me.
    John.

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    1. Many thanks John for your words ofencouragement. Maybe in a bit, I will feel differently.

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  3. I can fully understand your disappointment, Marc, especially as I am aware that some of the images that you have achieved are, in addition to being of the highest standard, probably unique in their content, and much of your work is as a result of many hours of dedication to the subject. However, I also understand that often there is a lot of politics behind the production of a book its references and, possibly the choice of whose images are used. It could even be down to who are friends of the authors. I have no knowledge of the personalities behind this particular book but one thing I am certain of is that the omission to ask you to contribute will be no intentional slight on your observational or photographic abilities - those are unquestionable!

    Please don't give up on the dragons. Your input to the subject is invaluable - even if not to the authors/publishers of one particular book!

    Best wishes - - - Richard

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    1. Many thanks Richard. You're always there with those kind words and encouraging statements on every post I do. It's very much appreciated.

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  4. Hi Marc, I totally agree with all of the above. Your photo's are worthy on inclusion in quality books and magazines. I've had some printed by publishers and received payment, mainly after threatened legal action. I once walked into an office in Bristol and saw a copy of one of my red kite photos hanging on the wall, copied from the internet that is the reason when I post a picture on my blog I write my name across the middle of it. I now only sell my pics direct to the customer. I have now sold well in excess of 1,200 mounted copies, and thats the way I like to keep it. Good luck.

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    1. Many thanks for your encouragimy words Mike. The more I read, it seems as if the face has to fit and if not, we won't bother. A time out may be what I need to just 'chill for a while.

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  5. Hi Marc
    Rant over!!
    Unfortunately you know only too well that when it comes to selection of photos for a book then who you know not what you know often prevails.Your work and dedication over many years are greatly appreciated by many and it will be a Great shame if you let one mistake (theirs not yours) get to you Just keep doing what you do very well And BREATHE !!!!

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    1. I should have realised politics would have come into it. Got to use the same old 'fave'photographers to get the material. Thanks for the encouraging words, appreciated.

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  6. Hi Marc.

    We have all seen photos in books that are below standard, and we think, mine is better than that!! However, as Mike says it is down to the old mates network and perhaps lazy publishers just taking the easy option.
    The best answer is to produce a much better book yourself if you have the time, inclination and money!! If you do there are many of us that would love to get a copy!!

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    1. It seem to be a case of who you know rather than maybe the quality of photos ( in some cases). If I knew where to start with a book, I may well be tempted.

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  7. Marc,
    I'm very much of the opinion of the other commenters - your dragonfly stuff is of an extraordinarily high standard and would, I'm sure, enhance any publication in which it appeared. However, you have to accept that there are many other folk out there who also have the skills and equipment to capture images of this fabulous group of insects. I have no idea who is publishing this latest tome but, rest assured, if it flops because the images aren't up to scratch, you'll feel so much better that you weren't party to it.
    If you need a bit of time away from the scene, then surely a beaver/otter project would provide a cracking challenge for your photographic skills? You've set your standards very high and if you could replicate that kind of approach to these wild creatures, I'm confident the results would be outstanding. Take care and stay calm - Dyl

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    1. I don't wish to down talk any other photographers because I'm sure their work for this book will be of a very high standard. More aggrieved though that it seems they weren't even noticed at all despite having many shots others won't have (Willow EmeraldDamselfly emerging, Norfolk Hawker emerging, Banded Demoiselle emerging to name a few). Photos always updated on blog and on social media. Sometimes, if the face doesn't fit, it don't matter how good the photos are.

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    2. Marc,
      I fear that you might have misjudged the publication. If it is a simple id guide, 4th edition, then the accompanying photos will provide id detail. Emerging examples, however rarely photographed, will contain very little that will assist the reader id a specific species. As I stated, your images are of exceptional standard, but closer to an art form than portrait work? When viewed from that perspective it is a little more clear why they might not be suitable for this type of publication. Dyl

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    3. Point taken with the emergence photos as regards to Id features. Still unsure about the many others of photos which would suit this type of book. Anyway, it hasn't happened so I will move on now. Back to birding I think.

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  8. I certainly hope you don't give up on the dragonflies + photography of them as you are on the cutting edge of this field. By all means enjoy some birding (I do too as a n all round naturalist who got into birds first) but the bird photography market is far more crowded than that for dragonflies.

    Have you been pro-active with publishers? That may help.

    Understand your frustrations but many enjoy+ admire your wonderful photos + useful observations.

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  9. Many thanks for your kind words. They are much appreciated. Hopefully I will get back into the swing of things again soon.

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  10. Hi Marc,

    Just got down from the mountains and back into internet coverage, and finally had a chance to catch up with your blog, and in particular read through your latest post.

    Whilst I certainly understand and sympathize with your genuine frustration at not having your outstanding Odonata photos considered or included in the latest edition of the book, I would urge you not to let that dishearten you or detract from your passion for photographing, and more importantly observing and documenting the fascinating ecology of dragonflies.

    Whilst it would have been great to see some of your photos in print in this ID guide, the real importance of your photographs goes beyond that. The combination of your dragonfly fieldcraft, patient observation and superb macro photography have enabled you to capture and record aspects of Odonata ecology and behaviour that have rarely been documented in such clear detail. Your images and written accounts of what you have observed are scientifically valuable, and worthy of more pride and prestige than simply beautiful shots of the adult dragonflies. In the future, I am sure we will see some of your photographs and discoveries appear and be credited in scientific publications, and in my opinion that will make all your efforts more than worth it. So don't give up! You are already making an important contribution to Odonata research in UK, and I am sure if you persevere you will make many more fascinating and important discoveries.

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    1. Good to hear from you Julian and many thanks for the points you make. Much appreciated and no doubt, with the support I have received of late, the camera will be back out soon.

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  11. This is normal. I've submitted photos for books and then when the thing had come out seen substandard photos chosen ahead of far better ones. Like you I feel a bit arrogant for even raising an eyebrow, but I've come to the conclusion that this is just what happens. I continue to take photos for my own satisfaction.

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    1. Many thanks Jono for your comment. It seems to me that politics runs through the middle of this theme and you are right, just take and enjoy them because I want to. Something I need to remind myself every now and then.

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  12. Marc, to expand on the tweet I sent to you on Friday and hopefully add something constructive to these comments, Brian Clews from WildGuides contacted me via FlickrMail last November asking to use one of my dragonfly photos for the book. Like I said before, I made a point of recommending your work to Brian and I told him you had many outstanding dragon/damsel photos at all stages of their lifecycle. I’m surprised he didn’t follow up with you, but perhaps at that point they already had most of the photos they needed, or maybe they were only looking for images with a Creative Commons licence. Maybe they excluded images that weren’t viewable at their original (full) resolution.

    I’m speculating, I know, but when you’re working to a tight deadline with hundreds of images to sort through, it might be silly little things like that which make the difference. You’ve got to put yourself in the mind of the researcher and make it easy for them to choose your photo – and that includes making sure your photos are tagged with both the species name and the scientific name (so they consistently show up in the Flickr search results).

    Also, and I hope you don’t mind me saying this, if you’re serious about seeing your work in print and you hear that a new edition is in production, maybe that’s the moment to volunteer your services rather than wait for them to contact you. We all dream of being recognised for our individual talents, but unless we’re willing to promote our work beyond our immediate circle of friends and acquaintances – and risk the possibility of rejection, then the sad truth is that we’re probably going to be overlooked.

    I do understand your frustration though (we’ve all been there), and I do hope you continue sharing your wonderful dragon and damsel photos with us. I like to think that quality wins out in the end; it just needs a little push from time to time.

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    1. Many thanks Mark for taking the time to express a few ideas. I suppose I should just be happy taking the photos which I am and Just see what becomes of it. What will be will be and it's important that I also continue to learn along the way.

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  13. I don't mind, all of them are beautiful

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  14. Sorry but I cannot see why it bothers you. I show images through various social media sites, if people look at them, good, if not then no matter. We are not pro's and do not do it for money. I was asked for a Dartford Warbler image for a new i.d book coming out, I think for the autumn plumage more than the quality of the photo. I said yes and to this day I do not know if they used it or not. More to the point, I don't really care, but I can still remember the fun I had getting the image at Hope Point St Margaret's, especially as there was a showy Wryneck there as well. I think it is a new Helm's publication and probably has not been published yet, not that it matters. Most magazines and publications have their own list of photographers and they tend to use them, asking for help if there is a particular image they require and their own photographers have not got. I would not lose any sleep over it, I find just being able to get out and take wildlife images is enough reward. Keep up the good work, yet to see the wings of a Dragon Fly in flight completely frozen, there's a challenge lol.

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