Last month, members of our production team – Jemma Dilag and myself – had a chance to present the work of Wonderful Machine’s photographers to two renowned New York publishers: Reader’s Digest and Penguin Random House.
We started our day in the Reader’s Digest headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, where we met the Creative Director Courtney Murphy and Photo Editor Matthew Cohen.
Published in 21 languages and distributed in more than 70 countries, Reader’s Digest is one of the most widely read magazines in the world. It reaches 10.5 million readers globally. In the US alone, it boasts a healthy four million subscribers.
The company, which is owned by Trusted Media Brands, also commissions work for other magazines, including Taste of Home, Family Handyman, and Birds & Blooms. Recently, their health and wellness titles have grown increasingly popular, so the editors we met were keen to look at the portfolio books of Wonderful Machine photographers, paying lots of attention to lifestyle imagery.
Impressed with the diversity and quality of our members’ work, they were particularly drawn to the images of Elizabeth Cecil, a Massachusetts-based photographer specializing in lifestyle, food & drink, as well as travel photography.
The inventive, often humorous portraiture of the Brooklyn-based duo HollenderX2 also drew a lot of praise. We learned RD’s photo editors seek portraits for their monthly “Everyday Heroes” series. Even though they sometimes use studio work, they tend to find environmental portraits more impactful. They also mentioned their monthly “Photo Finish” series, where they accept submissions from photographers on an ongoing basis.
Our next stop was the impressive office of Penguin Random House, where we met Art Researcher Jenny Pouech.
As a parent company of some 250 publishing divisions and brands, Penguin Random House oversees the production of 15,000 titles annually, both in print and in digital forms. These span from fiction to non-fiction and include works for children as well as adults. The publisher, therefore, needs every kind of photography.
Jenny, who mentioned that Penguin Random House editors rely almost exclusively on stock photography, was happy to learn more about Wonderful Machine’s stock request tool and said she would be using it in the future.
We always encourage our member photographers to keep an eye for and respond promptly to our stock request emails. Do this, and hopefully, your work will be featured in one of Penguin Random House publications.
Our visit ended in their free book selection area. We were lucky our portfolio suitcases were generously sized since each of us left with a handful of hardcover volumes, including “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman and “Permission to Screw Up” by Kristin Hadeed.