Ria Galleria revamped

After a frustrating few years using PixelPost (I’m slow to frustrate), I finally revamped riagalleria.com with WordPress. There’s something so comforting about a fresh WordPress install — it’s so familiar and reliable, but always coming up with neat new surprises (version 3.4 has ├╝ber-cool live previews).

Ria Galleria relaunch
Ria Galleria relaunch

If only every relationship had that magic mix, just like me and Mr B.

Hiatus interruptus

Since the start of classes in September, I’ve had very little time to blog. In addition to teaching and its concomitant demands, I’ve been getting busy with developing a learning management system (LMS) for the modern languages department. It’s based on Moodle, one of the most popular LMSs around, and offers almost infinite possibilities of combining different learning modules to make flexible, interactive and collaborative courses. I’ve got most of my colleagues signed up and we have a total of 17 courses running wholly or in part on my Moodle site.

It keeps my grey matter ticking over, but other activities have fallen by the way, sadly. I haven’t had time to work on photography, for example, although even without active developing and promoting, I have got another photo published, this time in Jamaica. More later. Class in five minutes. Last of the week.


View from the weiland

After living in sprawling, overcrowded capitals for most of my adult life, I am thoroughly enjoying life on a small island in the North Sea, living in a converted barn outside a village of 1300 souls. Or to be precise, 650 souls from the Dutch Reformed Church and 650 souls from the Restored Reformed Church.

They don’t talk to each other, and each has their own baker in the village. The origin of this latest schism in the historically flaky Dutch church is unclear, but to outsiders it is probably on a scale of importance similar to the introduction of sesame seeds and ciabatta.

Yet the presence of the church is strong here, with street signs welcoming visitors to “The Reformed Community of Northchapel”, with nary a soul on the streets on a Sunday afternoon, and where the tallest buildings around are the church steeples, visible for miles across the flat landscape of the weiland.

And even though the wind may howl all night, the dawn brings its own reward.

Weiland Dawn

Ria Bacon, Photographer

Another string to my fiddle, to add to those of editor, translator and trainer — marked by the first time I have been paid for one of my photos!

Here it is, a double half-page spread in the New York Magazine.

Ria Bacon, Photographer

Regular readers of this blog may have already seen the picture gracing the header on this web page.

I said above that this was the first time I had been paid for a published photo, but it is not the first time I have had a photo published.

The first time was in the Jamaica Observer, and was part of an unpaid photostory feature by readers. The second time was in the Chicago Sun-Trib, when a photo was used without permission and without payment.

When I queried this action, I was offered an apology and payment, but never received a cent. The person responsible was later promoted to the board of the newspaper, before being sacked and taking up a position at the Huffington Post. That’s what you get when you mess with da Ria ;-)

The third publication was actually a non-event. A UK publisher of educational reference books asked permission to use one of my photos. I agreed and quoted a price based on what I considered reasonable ($150).

The publisher replied that he hadn’t anticipated such a high figure (!). I then asked what he considered reasonable, and was told that he normally paid $70 … but that he no longer needed my photo.

I am sure he thought he could use it for free, not having offered anything in the first place. He twice mentioned that his was a small publishing house, yet the reference book in question had a print run to supply all the UK school libraries and cost around $50 per copy!

Bloody cheek.

One of these days I’m going to sort out my photo files and promote them more effectively. Any recommendations for making more money?

(One of these days … One of these days …)