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Photographer Turns Her Rejection Letters Into a Book



New York-based photographer Dana Stirling is no stranger to rejection. In the course of her photography career, she has received numerous rejection letters in various forms and from various sources. Instead of letting them derail her dreams, Stirling has compiled the letters into a new book titled “Dear Artist, We Regret to Tell You.”

It’s an unconventional handmade book in which the pages are connected in one corner, allowing the rejection messages to fan out in a circle. Stirling collected the messages by searching her email inbox and gathering the rejection emails into a “Rejection” folder.


“I made this book originally out of frustration and a lot of self doubt. I was getting so many rejections, that I started to question my work,” Stirling tells PetaPixel. “It started as a goof, a silly idea about making lemonade out of lemons.”

“Once I started, I realized that this is actually something that I should do for the benefit of us all. We all get rejected, but we never speak about it, its always hidden away. This book wants to celebrate my rejection, take in humor and maybe also inspire others.”


“Rejection is a large part of life and of an artists life in particular,” Stirling tells Feature Shoot. “If we never got rejected, we would never push ourselves harder. We are artists – we can and should make art out of our successes and failures and treasure them the same way.”


Since the book is currently being made by hand, you’ll need to get in touch with Stirling if you’re interested in purchasing a copy for yourself. She’s planning on creating it in different shades, and if demand turns out to be high enough, she’ll explore the possibility of publishing the book on a larger scale.

Image credits: Photographs by Dana Stirling and used with permission