There’s an element of serendipity to my current job—writing the text for a photo book on Vietnam called Journey through Vietnam. Some years ago when I was working on a souvenir book on Thailand (Portrait of Thailand, published by New Holland, UK), I proposed a similar book on Vietnam, since at the time I had visited all regions of the country and felt I had enough strong images to make a good job of it.
New Holland didn’t go for it, so I dropped the idea. Then, out of the blue, I was contacted recently by Periplus publications in Singapore, asking me if I’d like to write the text for this new publication. “Sure”, I said, “any chance of providing some images too?” “Well, you’re welcome to submit images”, they responded, “but be warned we won’t be paying more than $5 per image as we’re accessing them all from microstock libraries. In fact, in writing the text, you’ll be getting the lion’s share of our expenditure on this project.”
Ironic, isn’t it, that the text for an image-driven book pays more than the images in it? But, as I noted in my previous blog, this is clearly the way things are going, and there’s not much I can do about it. Since I’m already involved in the book, I expect I’ll submit images for any places or activities that they can’t find in image libraries, and might end up making an extra $10 for my efforts. But at least it’s given me an idea for an interesting story, about all the different forms of transport to be found in Vietnam.
Now let’s see, there are planes, trains, rowing boats, longtail boats, hydrofoils, junks, coracles, cable-cars, motorbikes, bicycles, cars, trucks, jeeps, tractors, elephants, buffaloes……….
is a British writer and photographer based in Chiang Mai, Thailand.