i’m developing and general editing a bible for young adults (17 – 30 years old), which will release in the spring of 2012. it’s a MAJOR undertaking, as i’m working with more than 125 writers and 6 photographers to create about 450 extra-biblical bits (book intros, a small amount of commentary/application, lots of personal narratives and other bits, as well as 146 artistic black-and-white photos to illustrate some of the pieces. the project started with a consulting meeting in december of 2009. i developed the concepts in the spring of 2010, and we signed the contract and launched the project last september. my 11 deadlines began in january, and i’m currently editing the content for the 6th deadline — so i’m a little over halfway finished. it’s really shaping up to be an amazing project.
but i had a challenging little problem in the last month that would have been almost impossible prior to the age of the internet.
i was trying to find a photo to illustrate a “lament” about child soldiers. for most of my photo needs, i’m working with a gifted group of about 6 photographers. i send them a list of themes for each deadline, and they give me thumbnails to consider. i received a couple submissions for this theme, but neither was a photo of an actual child soldier (both were shots of cute kids dressed up like soldiers). it felt like too weighty of a topic to treat cutely. so i contacted a major christian ministry that works in the area of child soldiers. i offered them a small licensing fee, and even said we would print a QR code right in the bible, giving hundreds of thousands of young adult readers a link to their site. but they wanted more money, and i didn’t have the budget for it. that was extremely frustrating, to say the least.
here’s where my friend, the interwebs, came in to save the day.
i search on flickr for “child soldier”. on about page 10 of images, just as i was about to give up, i found a few wonderful images that seemed like a fit. i clicked over to the photographer’s page, and from there to his website. drat: the guy is french, and his website (even with google chrome’s translation function) was pretty much impossible for me to use. i went back to his flickr site and tried to find the photo i’d seen in the search. but he had over 800 pages of photos, and i wasn’t finding it.
i sent him an email, asking if he spoke english. he responded in very broken english that he didn’t. then my daughter tipped me off to dictionary.com’s great translation tab. i started emailing the photographer back and forth, putting my responses through the english to french translation before sending them, and his french responses through the french to english translator. within a couple days (with the time change, responses were always next day), i had an agreed license fee and a hi-res image. now i just have to get the publisher to wire him the fee!
sure couldn’t have found this solution a decade ago. i heart the internet.
(i’d show you the image, but i don’t have a license for that! but you can see it here.)