Tucson Velo reader, author and bicycle photographer Matha Retallick is at it again. Never one to be without her camera at a bike event, Retallick has assembled some of her bicycle photography into a book. You may remember this post about the book she wrote about bicycling in all 50 states.

I sent her a few questions about the book. Check out her responses:

Can you tell me a little bit about the book and how it came about?

I’ve been trying to sell my bicycling photography to book and magazine publishers in the U.S. and elsewhere. I’d like to make stock photography sales and get photographic assignments.

Which brings us to a mini-lesson on how selling photography works:
You contact photo editors, creative directors, and art buyers. Which means that you must become one with your telephone and e-mail, because you’re going to be reaching out to dozens, if not hundreds, of people. And the overwhelming majority of them won’t be the least bit interested. This isn’t a reflection on you or your work. It just shows how competitive the creative arts are.

Okay, I just mentioned that overwhelming, uninterested majority. What about those few people who are interested in seeing your photography? Well, they may ask for a link to your online portfolio. If they like what they see, they’ll bookmark it. That’s a good thing.

Then there are those very interested people who want to see your book. That’s industry-speak for “a printed version of your portfolio.” Since publishers are in the business of producing and selling printed materials, photo editors, creative directors, and art buyers have a vested interest in knowing how your work looks on paper. Especially if they’re going to be spending their company’s money on acquiring it.

End of the lesson. Here’s how it applies to Martha the bike-tographer:

I’ve gotten requests for my book. So, time to get busy and make one. That was my late summer project.

Before I did the book layout, I sent my written copy to Judy Vorfeld at Editing and Writing Services in Peoria, AZ. Judy does the editing on any publishing project that I’m working on, and I highly recommend her.

In addition to my using the book as a giant business card for the publishing industry, she suggested that I try to sell it. So, that’s what I’m doing.

What’s in it and where were the photos taken?
The book shows two examples of my bike-tography. The first is a collection of photos from my bicycle travels through all 50 of the United States.

I covered 43 of the states during three long solo tours: 2,500 miles in the Upper Midwest and Canada in 1980; 8,300 miles around the U.S. in 1981-82; and 3,600 miles from Phoenix, Arizona, to Mexico, from Mexico up to Canada and the Pacific Northwest in 1987. The seven states not included in these long tours – Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington – were covered during shorter rides between 1986-92. Total miles covered: 15,000-plus.

The book includes photos from 10 of the 50 states that I pedaled through during the 1980s:

New Mexico
South Dakota

The second bike-tography collection is from right here in Tucson. My Tucson images date from 2008 through 2011. They’re from these major events:

4th Avenue Bicycle Swap Meet
Cyclovia Tucson
El Tour de Tucson
Old Pueblo Criterium
UA Criterium

How can people buy it?
They can order it online via my Bicycle Stock Images site. Here’s the link.

Anything else you want to add?

Traveling without the protective bubble of a vehicle provides a wonderful opportunity to see, hear, feel, and smell the world around you.

Add to this the minimalist nature of bicycle travel. Having limited carrying space forces you to rely on as little photographic equipment as possible. On my bike, I only had room for one camera body and one lens. So, that’s what I worked with.

In short, this book shows what you can do with a minimalist mindset. Less is more!


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