The Best Rejection Letter I’ve Ever Received
Recently I sent a few work prints and a copy of Urban Forest to a favorite writer of mine. On the backs of two of the prints I wrote a note asking if he would be interested in writing an essay to go with this new work.
We’ve never met or even spoken on the phone. Early in my photographic life his writing helped shape my ideas about our place, and my place, in the natural world. Writing to him was a brazen act of faith and hope.
Three days later I received a typewritten note on his personal stationery.
I hope you noticed the words ‘typewritten note’ because that alone was to me a treasure. Before I even read what he had to say, I felt rewarded with a measure of effort and time that is increasingly rare these days.
He told me he knew of Urban Forest and was really drawn to the new images and the stories they contained, but he regretted having to decline the invitation to write an essay. A person of his stature does not even need to give a reason. And yet his was eloquently woven into a short story that was deeply human and filled with warmth.
Even in his rejection he was teaching me about grace and kindness. A lesson I will embrace and do my best to emulate.
His name is Barry Lopez.