I enjoyed your problem because of the fact that for so many years I considered myself a magazine photographer and not an artist. Never did I ever consider writing particularly as my father had been a journalist in Buenos Aires until 1950 when the publisher of the Buenos Aires Herald offered him the job of editor. My father was drunk and threw a bottle of ink at the man.
But in 1982 during the Falkland’s war Malcolm Parry, editor of Vancouver Magazine told me, “You are going to write about your days in the Argentine Navy. I will photograph you for the cover.” Indeed he was right and my first written work was a cover article!
For years I worked with a very good writer called Les Wiseman who wrote a rock column for Vancouver Magazine. He gave me two pieces of advice that have served me well since:
- Never start in the beginning. Start in the middle and work both ways.
- Write about that which you know and if you don’t know ask someone who knows.
Another writer, John Lekich gave me another little piece of advice. “Whatever your first sentence is about try and relate to it in the last part of your essay.”
When the bottom fell out in Canada’s journalism and photographers and writers were no longer paid to go anywhere I started my blog in January 20016. Since then I have written over 4000 of them. I am my own publisher (in that diminished sense of the word these days) art director, editor, writer, photographer and illustrator.
Some years ago I photographed and interviewed James Ellroy. He gave me one very important little tidbit of advice. “Sometimes I open a manuscript in the morning and I insert a comma here and there. Then I close it. As long as you do something like that every day, you are writing.”
There is a thrill of going to a newsstand to pick up a magazine or newspaper that contains something I have written. That wonderful pleasure should help you allay your fears of publishing.
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward — Vancouver BC