Whats in a Name? by S. J.

Sue profile_pp





This Post by S. J. Brown

Since this is my first blog post I wanted to say HELLO to everyone and tell you a little about myself. I am a wildlife photographer, writer, Mom, wife, and grandmother. I am thrilled to be part of this group and look forward to getting to know everyone. I plan to share my thoughts and a few photos with you so you can get to know me.

I thought I should address the name issue here. Those of you that have met me know me as Sue. In print, on the internet and on anything to do with photographs I am S. J.

My photography career has taught me names are important. As Sue Brown, the photographer my work wasn’t getting viewed and certainly wasn’t selling. By simply using my initials instead doors began to open. This wasn’t a decision I made lightly. I have had my name all my life. My family and friends used it on a daily basis. It is familiar, my parents gave me that name. They also gave me my initials.

I began my photography career over 12 years ago, but even I was surprised. It seems that if a publisher was looking for a wildlife photo they didn’t believe a woman would have what they wanted. They rarely took the time to look at my work.

Whats in a name- bear






Most publishers assume S. J. Brown is a man and have even written checks to him. That’s okay, the bank cashes them. Yes, this is the 21st century, but some misconceptions live on.

So names are important. The name of a fictional character says something about them. It can give hints into their family background. The use of a nick name says a lot too. Changing the names of real people in your work helps prevent you from being sueCover 3-26-23d. The name of a special place will stay with you forever. The title (name ) of your book says a lot about it’s contents.





For me S. J. Brown says I am not on most occasions sporting a dress and high heels. Instead I can be found in hiking shoes, jeans and a tee shirt. You will rarely find me at a cocktail party or formal event. Instead look for me in the woods, I could be on the ground, climbing a tree or in a canoe. I am sure this is not what Mom had in mind when she was attempting to raise a proper young lady. However she did grow to appreciate what I do, and her lessons have served me well in public situations.

I thought I would end with a photo taken by this proper young lady in Florida. I didn’t know his name so I just called him sweetie.

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How does your name relate to your work? Do you use the  name your parents gave you or another?



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21 thoughts on “Whats in a Name? by S. J.

  1. Thanks for telling us about yourself and sharing your photographs, Sue! It was so interesting to hear about how the name you use affects your reception as a photographer. I currently use my real name for my writing. But I might consider a change–perhaps to initials–if I decide to publish in a different genre. (I’ve got some other projects brewing.)


    1. Hi S.J., great blog and Welcome to Writing Wranglers and Warrios. Don’t know what happened to the photos on the links. That has never happened before. Anyway thanks for the beautiful photos and your blog. Alsi you may have to sign each comment S.J. so we’ll know who the comment is from. Cher’ley


  2. Also I shared this on all my Social medias, which are a few, so your information is really getting out, because each of ys share on all our social media, and some of us reblog. We reach thousands with this little blog. Cher’ley.


    1. Thanks for sharing. I seem to always be playing catch up with the blog posts but I am working on setting aside time to check the blog every few days. Everyone has so much to share I don’t want to miss anything.


  3. S J (Sue) it is a pleasure. Names do mean a lot, I write fiction under a pen name for most don’t think I can do all I do. It is a ptiy that work cannot be honored no matter what the name, but that is societies perception. I really liked the photographs you shared. To find something you love and to be able to share that gift, priceless. Looking forward to what you will be sharing with us in the future. Welcome, Doris


  4. As I was reading this, I couldn’t help thinking of the episode of MASH when Hawkeye demands to know what B. J., his fellow doctor’s name, stands for. B. J. replied that B was his mother’s name, and J. was his father’s name, and that was that. I can certainly understand why you want to use initials and am now thinking of doing the same. Maybe my next book should be published under the name of A. J. Taylor.


    1. The problem with switching to initials is that you loose some of your following. When I switched I was just starting out and unknown. I do remember that episode of MASH. It was on again not that long ago.


  5. You’d be fun to go hiking with. I have a friend from my newspaper days in Leesburg, Florida. We were both journalists at the local newspaper, me a reporter and he a photographer. He’s now living out in Montana — has his own gallery and business, does what you do: shoots nature shots in Glacier. Once on an assignment together he told me all about the First Earthers.


    1. Mike now you have me curious I have to look up First Earthers. Occasionally I take people out into the field with me. Some enjoy it, others get bored while I chat with my subjects and they have to be quiet and still.


  6. Women have been changing their names to masculine ones for gain for a long time. In our local city, a woman named Elizabeth changed her name to Neal to help her become a writer. She is now famous in this little area as Neal Forsling and has a website re her moving to our mountain in 1929, divorced with two little girls, and turning her homestead into a magical place called Crimson Dawn, where a mid-summer’s eve is celebrated by many every year.
    There are many old time inventions by woman, credited to men as it wasn’t thought a woman could do such a thing. I think the cotton gin is one of them. So I can certainly understand your using your initials. But your photos are wonderful, you are very talented obviously! Thanks for sharing and introducing yourself and welcome to our blogging family! Neva Bodin


    1. Neva, Glad you liked the photos. I just got back from a trip to Colorado and will be sorting photos for the next few weeks. To me the best photos are the ones I take and the critter knows I am there and allows me to take the shot.


  7. Hello S.J. We are so glad to welcome you to Writing Wranglers and Warriors. Your photography is awesome and I enjoyed the fact that you took the time to let us know a little bit about yourself. As to the name thing, I am one of the authors here who changed my name when I began writing. I was performing music under the name Linda Stewart and sincee that’s not my name now I didn’t want to connect the two. My name now is Linda Baumann but I actually read an article that included much of what you mention in your post. I took a long time deciding but finally came up with L.Leander. That incorporated my first name (Linda) and Leander (which means lion and I am a Leo). I changed all my social media and business cards to the new name and am now happy I did change my name. Of course, friends & family know me as Linda Baumann but understand why I chose to do what I did. Probably not everyone cares to change the name their parents gave them, but I know who I really am!


    1. Some of my family and friends thought I was using S. J. for Sue & Jay. Jay is my husband and spotter. He is the one that gets me back home in one piece at the end of the day. They didn’t realize it was actually my initials. In the end I think we all need to use the name or initials that we are comfortable with.


  8. Hi Sue. it’s lovely to get to know you. I really do think names are so important in novels. I choose character names very carefully and deliberately. I’m personally very unoriginal in that I write under the name I’m known by – as in my married name – since I’d probably forget my pseudonym if i used one. 😉 ps I like your sweetie but wouldn’t have wanted to be too close! If you see any of my own photos used on this blog (or my own) I’ll say now that I’m of the ‘point and pray for a good result’ type of photographer. 😉


    1. Nancy writing under your actual name isn’t unoriginal, it’s familiar and comfortable. I mention Sweetie in my book. He was part of one of those “Oh Crap” moments when I got a bit to close to my subject.


  9. Welcome and great post. Loved the photos, too. It’s frustrating that our gender still makes it difficult to be recognized or even valued but one little change and the doors are suddenly opened. Well done.


    1. Sorry I didn’t reply sooner. For some reason I am not getting notifications about Replys. I am still getting the hang of this. Glad you liked the post. It is a shame I am no longer surprised when someone assumes the photo was taken by a man.


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