Fear and Making Books | Cameron Kline

The hardest part in creating a book is convincing other people to overcome their fears. In submissions, for sure, and I think a lot in life we’re guided by our fears. My life certainly, has been guided and shaped by it. 

In high school I was on a date with a girl that I desperately wanted to impress when I had my first cigarette. I was afraid that if I didn’t bring cigarettes, since she smoked, that she would somehow think less of me. She was older than me and probably out of my league at the time. We went on two dates, coffee and cigarettes, and I continued smoking for seven years after that. 

After high school I almost married the wrong woman out of fear. We were together for a long time, loved each other, but truly had no clue who the other person was. I was afraid that if I didn’t marry her I’d live a life of destitution, forever doomed to live with my parents. The wedding was called off two weeks before we were to wed. I spent a year and a half paying her parents back, while sleeping on my father’s floor, but I’ve spent the past five years married to my soul mate. 

And so my point in all of this is that if you submit for the book there’s a chance you won’t get in, though we do our best to make sure everyone is included; the submissions are competitive, they’re from great photographers, and there will be plenty to choose from. But, if you don’t submit at all, then there is a guarantee that you won’t get selected.

Recently I asked Laura Yurs about her experience in submitting for the book, and here’s what she had to say:

The fear of rejection is always there, but perhaps it lessens each time you submit your work. The vulnerability can almost suffocate any desire you have to show your portfolio. The overwhelming self doubt can make you want to run. You know what is worse? Regret. I say this with deep sincerity. The first year we published the book, I didn’t submit anything. I was too nervous and I didn’t think I had anything worthy of FSC. I spent a lot of time focusing on how much I didn’t know about film and allowing myself to be intimidated. I felt such genuine regret when the book was published. It was a bitter and awful moment. I allowed my self doubt to interfere. I vowed to be part of the next book regardless of how nervous I felt. I took a step forward and found a handful of images that I really loved. I reasoned that, even if they weren’t selected, it would be alright because I loved the images for what they represented to me.

Begin with images that make your heart beat madly. Write the artist statement quickly and submit. Don’t look back. You can revise and make corrections once it’s submitted, but get it submitted. Think of it as one more tiny step forward. As it turned out, a few revisions were needed and .....life went on. The world kept spinning. I think the danger lies with the self critical voices in our own mind. It’s crucial to realize that all (most) of us struggle with the artist statement and submitting our work. And I think it’s also crucial to realize that there is a tremendous amount of support and unconditional love in FSC. Everyone was very respectful through the entire process and I grew as a photographer and artist.

I did wind up getting published in the next book. Not only that, but I made the COVER!! I felt such overwhelming JOY upon seeing that. It was a surprise to me and it blew my mind. And while having my image on the cover was amazing, seeing my work alongside all of the other photographers in the book was far and away the greatest feeling. I felt so honored. I am part of something bigger than me. You are part of something bigger than you. Together we are doing this. The feeling of connection is intense and exciting. I can hold that book in my hands and it’s way beyond anything I’d hoped for. Treasure. Submitting work for the book is an opportunity to collaborate, to create, and to grow. I’m so thankful I took a chance.
— Laura Yurs

Submit and Connect

If you’re interested in submitting for our third installation of the NSEW series you can visit our call for entries page. You can connect with Laura Yurs on her website at https://laurayursphotography.wordpress.com/