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  • Writer's picturesarahhawley

Published Photography!

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

The first time my photography was published was so exciting. In 2019, I came across a call for submissions to a periodical called The Northern Appeal. I had been a hobby photographer for many years up to this point and had decided that I wanted to take my photography a step further. I wanted to get my work out there and to be seen by people. I wanted to know if it was any good and what others might think of it.

The Northern Appeal is a bi-annual, non-profit, literary journal native to the Simcoe County and Muskoka region of Ontario. Founded by Victoria Butler and Will Crosson, the journal showcases poetry, short stories, photography and artwork from Northern Ontarian artists and writers. At the time, the journal only accepted black and white images of artwork or photographs.

Back then, my only camera was a small point and shoot Canon Power Shot A590 IS with only 8.0 mega pixels and a 4 times zoom, a far cry from the equipment I use today. The call for submissions was for the theme "change & transition". I submitted a black and white photograph entitled Shorelines. It was an image of the shoreline in Balm Beach. Over the summer, I received word that my image was accepted to be published in issue 6 of the Northern Appeal and that a release party was to be held at the end of August.

The gathering was held on the evening of August 23rd at Homestead Bakery in Barrie, Ontario. There was music, poetry readings from the latest issue of the Journal, speeches, food and drinks, and it was such a great social event for all the creatives in the community to get together.

I went to the front counter, where they were selling merchandise and copies of the periodical, I got my copy of the journal and immediately searched for my name and what page number my work was on. I flipped to the page and there was my photograph. It was such a cool feeling to see it and to be a part of the issue that featured so many other talented individuals from the art community.

I had such a positive experience, that I applied to another call for submissions by The Northern Appeal. This time there was no theme. I had just finished my first semester at Georgian College, taking the Photography program. During the semester, I created a body of work dealing with nature and black and white photography. I chose a small selection of images from this series and submitted them to the periodical. By the time the notification emails came out, I had forgotten all about it. Once again, I was thrilled to receive word that my work was accepted for issue 7.

This time, two images were selected for publishing. One was an image called Sunshine on a Reed Field and showed a close-up of a reed backlit by the sun. The second image was called Frozen Bird and it was a photo of a seagull that was frozen into an awkward position with its head underwater in Kempenfelt Bay. Issue 7 was release in the middle of winter, on the 28th of February. Unfortunately, the winter conditions were unsafe to travel in, and I missed the release party. I was really looking forward to attending. Instead, I was mailed my copy of the journal and I was so pleased when it arrived in the post.

I am sharing this story because I just noticed that the latest call for submissions for Issue 8 of The Northern Appeal has just passed and I have been thinking a lot about applying to other magazines and publications to continue to get my photography out into the world. If I hadn't applied to the call for submissions the first time around, I don't think I would be doing any of this today. Getting exposure can be a lot of work, but it can be very rewarding too!

Above (left to right): Sunshine on a Reed Field, 2019; Frozen Bird, 2019, Front cover of The Northern Appeal Issue 7; Shorelines, 2019; Front cover of The Northern Appeal Issue 6

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