From Behind the Lens to the Printed Page: The Experience of Getting a Collection of Photographs Published

Lessons learned on my journey to being published for the first time

Lawrence Lazare
Live View
8 min readJan 16, 2024


A photo of the Cover of Volume 1.5 of Archive. It shows a high contrast black and white image of woman sillouted in against a stark white window which contains the work of art she is gazing at.
The cover of “The Museum Gaze”, courtesy of F2.8 Press

As a photographer, I have spent a lifetime creating, editing, and, now and then, printing an image or two. Over the years, I have sold some of my images, and for a period, I published a calendar of photos taken in New York’s Hudson River Valley. Once a year or so, one of my images will get curated into a museum or gallery show, but as it is for many of us, most of my images live on my hard drive, unseen by others.

Of course, I also share my images on social media. Although I know it gets me some exposure and positive feedback, having my friends and followers take a second or two to glance at an image on their phone is far from an ideal way to share my work. I’ve always hoped to see a collection of my work hanging on the wall of a gallery or published in a book, but I’ve not attempted to make that a reality, that is, until now.

In September 2022, I was listening to my favorite photography podcast, The Digital Story, when host Derrick Story mentioned a call for photography submissions for a new publisher named F2.8 Press. I immediately thought about submitting some work but felt a wave of imposter syndrome sweep over me. I promptly decided my work was not good enough to get published and put the idea out of my mind.

Fast forward to the summer of 2023. I had recently started attending art school, and I was getting used to sharing my work and experiencing critiques with my professors and classmates. At the same time, I had recently started writing about photography for the Live View publication here on Medium. It turned out that one of my fellow Live View writers was John Pemberton, the publisher of F2.8 Press.

Buoyed by the positive reception my writing was getting on Medium and the confidence I gained from sharing my artwork at school, I decided to respond to the F2.8 call for art last June. I curated a collection of what I thought was my strongest work, a collection of images taken at museums, and shared them with John in a pitch email.

Mike Kelley retrospective at PS1 in New York, December 2013

In 2013, my wife and I attended a retrospective show for the artist Mike Kelley at PS1 in New York. One of the galleries was filled with a series of satellite-like sculptures constructed from stuffed animals. I became fascinated with a stone-faced guard who stood amongst the strange-looking sculptures. I grabbed my iPhone and discreetly started capturing images. I pondered what it would be like to spend your day surrounded by works of art, whether beautiful, odd, or disturbing. Thus started a more than a decade-long fascination with photographing the interactions between humans and works of art.

Over the past decade, I have become obsessive about photographing in museums and galleries. From Istanbul to Berlin to New York to New Orleans, taking photos in museums and galleries has become a mainstay of what I love to do when traveling. In preparing for the F2.8 submission, I culled through thousands of museum shots and compiled 30 of my best images.

Having sent out my submission, I prepared myself for either rejection or not hearing back at all. Poised for rejection, I had not prepared myself to get an email from John saying that he would love to publish my work in an F2.8 monograph.

Over the next six months, John and I worked together on selecting the images for the collection, collaborating on the sequencing and layout, putting together the monograph title, description, and publisher statement, and working on a marketing plan.

With my F2.8 monograph, The Museum Gaze, now available for sale, I wanted to share my experience with the process in order to help others interested in getting their work out into the world. At any given time, there are dozens of calls for art looking for photographic work. Here are some things to keep in mind when submitting your work.

Kerry James Marshall show in New York, December 2016

Know what the call is looking for

Before responding to a call, make sure you understand what is being asked for. Read the submission guidelines carefully to see if your work fits. Are they looking for B&W work? Landscapes? Are they accepting submissions only for new work created in the past year or two? Look at the work the organization has shown before. For instance, If your work is more abstract, then it might not be a good fit for a call for representational work.

The work you submit should tell a story, and you need to be able to articulate what your work is about and why others will find it interesting. A compelling pitch can interest those who are judging your work before they’ve even seen it. It’s also important to provide the organization with exactly what they are asking for and to make sure the images and written materials requested are formatted properly. As an example, here is the submission page at F2.8 Press.

Submit work with a cohesive perspective

Although I shoot a number of different photographic styles, urban, landscape, and experimental infrared, the work I submitted to F2.8 Press was a tightly curated collection of photos. All the images focused on people interacting with art and with the spaces where that art is displayed. All my images were in a square format, and most were high contrast.

Museum of Modern Art, October 2021

Be prepared to work with a curator or editor

If a collection of your images is accepted to be shown or published, you will be working with a curator or editor. It’s their job to choose, sequence, and display the work in a compelling way. This process might mean removing or adding images from your collection or, in some cases, making changes to some submitted works.

If you are used to having complete control over your images, it might feel strange to have to listen to someone else’s ideas on how to display your work. Try not to let your ego get in the way, and see working with the curator or editor as a collaboration, and that you are working with someone whose job it is to present your work in an exciting and compelling way.

Have extra images available

Although I submitted a full collection of 28 images to F2.8, the images that ended up in The Museum Gaze included images not originally submitted. In the end, through discussions with editor John Pemberton, we selected work that told a cohesive and consistent story.

There are a number of factors that go into determining which and the number of images you publish/display. Factors such as the number of pages available, how your work is laid out on the page/wall, and the physical dimensions of the gallery space will end up determining how many and what size images are displayed. Having additional images available can significantly aid in the curation/editing of how your work is displayed.

Be prepared to market yourself and your work

Most arts organizations and publishers don’t have large publicity budgets, so if you are hoping to have the word spread about your work, you need to be prepared to help the process. Although self-promotion can feel awkward at first, it’s something you need to grow comfortable with as an artist.

Start by contacting your friends and family, who will be your natural supporters. Use your social networks to spread the word about where to see your work or buy your publication. Send a press release to your local or hometown paper, or reach out to websites or podcasts that might be interested in your work.

The bottom line is that the more you participate in promoting your work, the more it will be seen. Remember that presenting your work is a partnership between you and the publisher/arts organization.

Know that many organizations charge a fee to submit

Although this was NOT the case with my submission to F2.8 Press, a reality of the art world is that there are often fees associated with submitting your work. The reality of the art world is that most organizations that might show your work lose money or break even at best. Submission fees often make the exhibition/publication possible. In the case of prize money awarded at some exhibitions, the entry fees might subsidize those awards.

In some cases, you might be required to be a member of that organization to submit work. It’s also worth mentioning that, as with any situation where fees might be required, ensure the organization is reputable. Like with all endeavors where money changes hands, be aware of who you are working with.

Haus Kunst Mitte Gallery, Berlin, July 2017

Getting your work out into the world is not necessarily easy. Pitching and promoting your work will likely feel strange, but it is necessary if you want to have your work seen by a wider audience. It might make sense to start with something local and small. The smaller or more local the organization you submit to, the higher your chances of getting selected will be. Despite the work involved in getting your work out there, the payoff of seeing your work in print or on the wall of a gallery or museum is a priceless feeling.

If you are interested in learning more about or purchasing a copy of my monograph, The Museum Gaze, it is available for sale at the F2.8 website.

Unless noted, all images copyright Lawrence Lazare

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Lawrence Lazare
Live View

Legally blind photographer and former e-commerce product management lead. Now working on a BFA in Studio Art at the University of West Florida. IG:@llazare