Receiving two assignments from French newspaper Le Monde within three weeks is not something usual. For several months, Le Monde has only been requesting stock photographies about Japan from me. Then in August, I was asked to shoot the international far-right meeting in Tokyo and, in September, a portrait of Misato Mochizuki, a Japanese music composer living in Tokyo and Paris. Indeed, Misato Mochizuki will perform at the Paris Autumn Festival on October 18, 2010, and her portrait will appear in Le Monde supplement about the festival.
Because of the time difference, getting assignments from French newspapers is really difficult. Picture editors in France only know a few hours before the publishing deadline whether the articles will go out with a picture or not. Usually they start looking for images around 10:00 am in Paris. That is 5:00 pm in Japan (in summer) which is too late to cover any event here. Luckily (mostly for them), news agencies like AFP or AP can usually provide pictures of the event afterwards. But then all newspapers get the same images of the event, so where is the diversity of the viewpoints in that case?
Fortunately, pictures editor sometimes know their needs a few days in advance, which was the case here. I was contacted by Le Monde at 10:00 pm on a Friday night, the appointment with Misato Mochizuki was scheduled on the following day. I had then plenty of time to send the pictures to Paris before the next Monday. What a luxury.
So, as a freelance photographer in Japan, what should I do to get published in European newspapers ?
Solution#1 : Waiting for calls…
Solution#2 : Shooting events all day long then trying to sell the pictures in the evening. I actually stopped doing that since it is too much time spent for little results.
Solution #3 : Working in collaboration with the Japan-based writers (correspondents). I just come back from an assignment for Libération, to be published next week.
Follow this link for more pictures of Misato Mochizuki.