Signs, books and documentaries

By - May 23, 2007 (Updated: November 28, 2014)

This morning I asked for a sign… a sign that I was on the right path and that I wasn’t wasting my life pursuing this dream of photography, of art, of something for myself.

I’m not in the habit of asking for signs. Actually I’m more likely to ignore one that jumps up and waves at me. This morning I had just finished reading week three of The Artist’s Way, which was about acting and then receiving the gifts you are given from God, the universe, creativity itself, or whatever you happen to believe in. So I asked…

I turned on the computer and received an e-mail from a friend in Amsterdam. He happened to glance at the credits of the book he was reading and something caught his eye – My Name.

Thank you to Robert for sending the scan.
My picture on the cover…

So I searched on-line to find the cover of the book and although it’s cropped tightly, it is my image. It was sold from one of the micro-stock sites I’ve been contributing to for the past year. I don’t know which one. And for the thousands of images I’ve sold, I’ve only ever found half a dozen or so, on websites. But this find was big… a book is so much more permanent. I’m in shock.

Last week I had another micro-stock ‘moment.’ Possibly one of those other signs I ignored. I received another e-mail through istock from a film producer in Hollywood. He wanted to use one of my images in a documentary but needed to purchase a license option I hadn’t enabled… would I be interested? Um… yeah!

I know the arguments against micro-stock. I’ve read them all and I debated for a long time before I started selling my images this way. I haven’t been too vocal about my micro victories because I was worried what people would think. That somehow it wasn’t a valid way to sell my images – that I wasn’t a real photographer.

My photos have now been used on websites, on a book cover, in a documentary film and in a travel brochure. These are only the few I’ve stumbled upon.

I’m not posting any of this here to brag or feel self-important. On the contrary, I still worry about what everyone thinks, including me. Putting this out in the world is just another small, tentative step that I’m making to prove to myself that I can do this and that I’m worthy of achieving my dreams.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
It's after Halloween so I can officially share Christmas Markets now right...? 🎄🎅 - 1 week ago


  1. Comment by Alison

    Alison May 23, 2007 at 18:19

    Thanks Ladies 🙂 It’s nice to see the work finally pay off 🙂

  2. Comment by Alison

    Alison May 23, 2007 at 21:19

    Cheri – No dear, you’ll be the famous photographer who is friends with another famous photographer 🙂
    Kate – Hollywood and Holland… who woulda thunk it? 🙂

  3. Comment by Mirka

    Mirka May 23, 2007 at 22:02

    This is fantastic news! Congratulations! 🙂

  4. Comment by Di

    Di May 23, 2007 at 13:28

    Hey congratulations … that’s so exciting! 🙂

  5. Comment by Amy

    Amy May 23, 2007 at 18:11

    WoooooooooHoooooooooo! This is fabulous news! Congrats Al! I have never doubted you being worthy of your dreams. Quite the contrary in fact. 🙂

  6. Comment by cheri

    cheri May 23, 2007 at 20:57

    That is toooooooo freakin cool! I say keep up the good work! I always knew I would become a friend of a famous photographer…that’s my dream.

  7. Comment by kate

    kate May 23, 2007 at 21:00

    that is so freakin’ exciting! yay!!!! alison takes hollywood!!!!

  8. Comment by Alison

    Alison May 25, 2007 at 13:51

    Christina – Thanks so much and you rock… twice 🙂

  9. Comment by christina

    christina May 25, 2007 at 13:11

    You know what I think? I think you’re wonderful. Using your gifts is important. Keep at it. 🙂

  10. Comment by christina

    christina May 25, 2007 at 13:12

    You know what I think? I think you’re wonderful. Using your gifts is important. Keep at it. 🙂

  11. Comment by christina

    christina May 25, 2007 at 13:14

    See? I think you’re so great that I double commented. 🙂

  12. Comment by pugwash pops

    pugwash pops June 1, 2007 at 03:50

    Fantastic … being creative just is … that’s it, you can’t escape it but you can determine if it’s going to be shared or private, an enterprise or personal, mainstream or artistic, or, more likely for you, a magical blend of all of the above. I love being able to see what you see … trust that there are a lot of folks like me and keep finding ways to get your images out there! Love ya! pugwash pops

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