A call for six (6) photos, to be reproduced in black and white, as illustrations in a forthcoming Brazilian (Portuguese-only) anthology of my work, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Essays on American Empire, Digital Culture, Posthuman Porn, and the Sexual Symbolism of Madonna’s Big Toe (Editora Sulina). The book will be launched at the prestigious Pernambuco book fair, FLIPORTO, in Olinda, Brazil, November 12-15. (Details HERE.)

I’m inviting interested parties to send a link to their online galleries or portfolios to me at markdery at verizon dot net.

Unsurprisingly, there won’t be any clink of coin, here. (Is there ever, these days?) But if I choose your image as one of the six B/W illustrations in the book, or six of your works to fill all six slots, you’ll receive written credit in the book, including a link to your site, and as many complimentary copies of the book (which, again, is Portuguese-only) as I can pry from the publishers’ white-knuckled grip. As well, English-language rights to the book may be picked up by an American publisher, in which case I’ll lobby strenuously to include your images in the English-language version.

What am I looking for? Any images that resonate with the sensibility at play in my writing. If you’re unfamiliar with my work, prowl around my site, Shovelware, or read the Wikipedia entry on me, or search sites like True/Slant and Boing Boing.

For the time-deprived, here’s the back-cover promo copy for I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts. (Pardon the shamelessly self-aggrandizing tone. Flogging product is part of every hack’s job description, these days.)

From the cultural critic Wired called “provocative and cuttingly humorous” comes a viciously funny, joltingly insightful new collection of drive-by critiques—of an America gone mad, and a world where chaos and catastrophe are the new normal.

Here are essays on Star Trek fans’ pornographic fantasies about the Borg, a fascist hive mind of alien man-machines; Facebook as a Limbo of the Lost for the dead souls from your high-school yearbook; George W. Bush’s fear of his Inner Queer; the SUV as a totem of Ugly Americanism; the morality of wearing camo-themed fashion during wartime; why golf is a battlefield in the war between the classes; the homoerotic subtext of the Superbowl; the theme-parking of the Holocaust; the Church of Euthanasia; the hidden agendas of IQ tests; Santa’s secret kinship with Satan; the sadism of dentists; why HAL, the computer in the movie 2001, was gay; the severed head as signifier; the literary merits of suicide notes; and, of course, the sexual symbolism of Madonna’s big toe.

From Menckenesque polemics on American society to deft deconstructions of pop culture to unflinching personal essays in which the author turns his scalpel-sharp wit on himself, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts is a head-spinning intellectual thrill ride.

I’ll seriously consider any stunning image that harmonizes with the style and subject matter suggested by that blurb.


To get you in the mood, here’s the unforgettable front-cover photo by the incomparable Adam Szrotek, guaranteed to leave big, puffy blisters all over your mind:


Photo: Adam Szrotek; copyright Adam Szrotek, all rights reserved.

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    1. Mark Dery seeks photos for next book

      BB contributor Mark Dery is seeking six photos to illustrate a forthcoming Brazilian anthology of his writing. The title is quintessential Dery: I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Essays on American Empire, Digital Culture, Posthuman Porn, and the Sexual S…

      • M. Dery

      • 13 years ago

      Alternatively, just post your URL here.

      • Doug

      • 13 years ago

      Fail! Creating content is work. And you should be paid for work. Exposure is not pay. Sorry. I know you mean well.

      • Doug

      • 13 years ago

      Just to clarify, let me try this:
      “I just created a book of six images. I need text. No pay, but you’ll get exposure. Please meet these requirements …”
      Thank you but no. And if you find one or more photographers to give away their work, they are just killing the possibility of getting paid for photography. Ever.
      Content is valuable.

      • M. Dery

      • 13 years ago

      Doug, I hear your howl of pain. I’ve howled it myself. Unfortunately, the storm of history is drowning us out. When I get paid, I pay. Truth to tell, there’s no advance for this book, and likely not a penny in royalties, since essay collections usually sink like a stone in today’s marketplace. Whenever I’ve received an advance, I’ve paid, out of pocket, for every image I’ve ever used. In this instance, I’m not paying because I’m not getting paid. The equation is a simple one, elegant in its Hobbesian nastiness and brutishness. Blame it on capitalism. And on the rise of the cellphone camera and photo-sharing sites like Flickr, two cultural dynamics that have done much to propagate the popular fiction that Everyone is a Photographer. These phenomena, together with the messy implosion of the Newsmedia As We Knew It, have put paid to the cherished belief that freelance photography, like freelance writing, is a survival strategy. Hell, man, Annie Leibowitz (sp.?) is in hock. The winds of the zeitgeist aren’t blowing our way—no one wishes more ardently than I that they were—and squeezing blood from my little pebble isn’t going to change that, sadly.

    2. Though I’m with DOug in general principle, I am contributing to Mark’s Book because he is a nice guy and i bet if he had money to throw around he would. As a rule , I don’t give my work away for free and I do think it damages the profession. exposure is a crock of shit no doubt but having a free book with one of my images illustrating Mark’s work knowing i contributed to a friend’s book, well that is cool. It will sit on a bookshelf in my mother’s house with the rest of my published work. Doug, the business is already pretty much wreck, key is to shoot stuff people can’t find for free so when they need it they will pay.
      My line to non- profits who want my work for free is to ask if they ask their plumbers to work for free. Yeah, I often dont get much respect. But Mark is a worthy guy to give the rights of an image too.

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