|A few months ago I was told by a classmate that one of the school literary journals was asking for photographic submissions. I've never been published, nor have I even tried to be published. This was the impetus for me submitting some of my work, six photographs to be exact, to the Northridge Review. That was months ago, and while a friend of mine, who also submitted some work, got an email telling him that his work wasn't "good enough" for the Review, I never got a similar email. So all these months I've wondered if I made it. I should have known that I didn't, seeing as there was no extraordinary effort on the part of the Review to contact me.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when someone told me that the review was out. I tried to get my hands on a copy, but had no luck. I thought that the library might have a copy, since they do carry the old copies. Well, they didn't, it was being "processed" for the stacks. Today my boss and I went up to the office where the processing was being done and the guy there gave us a copy (he had several) of the Review. I shouldn't have been surprised that NONE of the pictures I submitted made it into the publication. I was quite angry at what DID make it into the publication. I took pictures of a couple of the "works" that made it into the review, and they are as follows.
Now you MIGHT be saying, "What the fuck is that?" That's what I asked, seeing as there seems to be nothing discernible in the picture. The title of this "masterpiece" is "the woods." Now you do have to make allowances for the fact that I took a picture of the picture in the magazine, but still. A picture of some nondescript woods with a blast of sun bursting down from the heavens is not very good. To me it looks like something someone took by mistake. Here's another of the "works" that made it into the publication.
Obviously this set of dominoes is so much better than my work, because that's what's implied when my work doesn't make it and this does. It's obviously so much better because of the great work in composition and tonality. The repeated dots on the dominoes clearly speaks to how the world turns us into pieces of machinery in the big machinery of the world. We're clearly just clogs in the big machine. BULLSHIT! This is ANOTHER example of a boring picture that took no imagination.
Can you tell I'm furious that this kind of shit made it into the Review, while my work is easily tossed away? Speaking of my work, here are a few of the pictures I submitted to the Idiotridge Review. You tell me if my work is better than the two that you just saw.
I'm sorry, I don't want to come off as arrogant or something because my work didn't make it in and someone else's did. But honestly, does the work published in the Review match the work I submitted? Honestly, think about it objectively and tell me honestly if you think my work is better than what made it in. I don't want to hear that you think my work is better because you're my friend and you think I need that. No, I want an honest opinion, completely detached from any friendship we might have.
Honestly, I wanted to punch someone in the face after seeing what made it into the crappy Review. Someone said to me, "you should consider it an honor NOT being in the Review." You know what? I think that's how I should see it. Because any one of the six pictures I submitted are head and shoulders above the mediocre stuff that made it in the Review. The first picture on the above set is rightly composed. You think I just sat there and took a picture? No, I weighted the darkness of the black with the foamy whiteness of the sea. In the second one, do you think I haphazardly took the picture? Don't you think I thought about how much of the tree should be shown versus how much of the building? And what of the otherworldly light, how much of that should I keep in the picture?
My photography is based on finding a perfect moment and trying to capture it. It's not about dominoes and gray blotches, it's about perfection. I take this stuff EXTREMELY serious. So much that i often get offended when someone dismisses it as snapshot shooting. There is a method to my work. The problem, as I once heard, is that people don't consider photography to be a high art because anyone can pick up a camera and do it. The reality is not everyone can compose a photograph to be high art. The masters are the masters because their eye sees what others don't. I love art and the notion that there is perfection in the world, if you just open your eyes to it. I once read that a moment is all you can expect from perfection. I carry my camera with me wherever I go in order to capture that moment as best I can. This rant may sound bitter, but the reality is that it is bitterness towards the dull eyes that can't appreciate the difference between a snapshot and craft. My work, think of it as crap or not, is based on an understanding of art and composition.
But, I shouldn't be surprised that the Northridge Review sycophants published their friend's works rather than that which is actually good. The friend that submitted his work is a subtle writer that understands the economy of words and how to write a story. The judges who I submitted my work gladly published their own work alone with the two "wonderful" photographs, that are clearly better than my work. It's great to know that the bullshit our professors pile on us isn't going to waste. It's germinating a whole new set of assholes that will produce even more bullshit.
That's my rant, thank you an good night.