I came up with two new words to try and describe what I'm doing with my nudes. I realize that to some people the words are rather pretentious, as they come from an academic background. However, I think it is possible to be academic without being pretentious.
I describe my nude work as photographotica - using photography to write (or re-write) the canon of erotography. The canon of erotography is the collected body of work that describes and structures what is commonly held to be erotic.
My artists statement then, as posted on my personal work website, is:
What is Photographotica, and what is "the canon of erotography"?
Photographotica is the writing of eroticism through photography. The canon of erotography is the collected body of erotic imagery, writing and video that defines who and what is erotic.
Male beauty is traditionally defined along the same lines by which "great" literature or other art is defined - created by, for and about white men. This gallery has as a goal the ambition to expand, if not re-write, how and who we define as erotic subjects.
By attempting to rewrite those standards, this [body of work] attempts to give the power of the erotic subject to those who have traditionally been cast as erotic fetish objects, and whose admiration has been seen as deviant, delusional or just misguided.
I realize that's a rather ambitious goal. I don't know if it is realistic, but I think the statement is accurate and to-the-point.
Artist statements are written in the 3rd person to double as artist "Bios" for use by anyone who may wish to publish it as such. Say for instance a gallery show catalog or a magazine. These people rarely conduct interviews with the artist and like the biography "in the can" or ready made for publishing. Some artists have both the biography in the third person and a separate statement written in the first person published. The former serves as sort of a chronological listing of education, achievements etc, while the latter outlines the artists philosophy of his/her work.
Originally Posted by KenM
This thread is so ancient I bet no one ever reads this.
My photographic work dealing with coal strip mining sites in Pennsylvania is being done for a variety of reasons. Much of my childhood was spent in this type of environment and being back in these ubtenanted landscapes revives memories that I am now able to relive through my art. Another reason for making these images is the great influence that my father had on me. These coal fields were literally his backyard. This is where,during the depression, he was forced to scrape out a living where no real living was to be had. He became a,"Bootleg Coal Miner". A bootlegger is someone who steals coal from the large mining companies, but if you were to ask him about it he would say that it was not he who was the thief but rather the coal companies that were guilty of pillaging. He told me stories sf real shooting wars between the bootleggers and the Coal and Iron police which was a private army enlisted to keep the strip mines the exclusive province of the coal companies. These stories are full of pain and suffering but they are also filled with joy and triumph. My third reason for working in these areas iws because I find these torn apart landscapes to be visually intoxicating. These vistas are are intimidating in their visual uniqueness. Strip mining practices have totally despoliled the excology and natural contour of the land. Still, I must admit that what was left behind, this convoluted and tortured earth, is as inspiring as any natural landscape that I have yet encountered. The scope of what humankind can effect is the very core of this work. I have often stood on a hill overlooking a strip mine that may be as large as twenty square miles and feel tht I am viewing the results that might come about if God had decided to pass his/her time using the earth as a child might use the sand in a playground sandbox. At these times my individual hamanity seems insignificant and very fragile. It is during these times of humility and awe that I make my photographs.
This work exists on several levels. On one level it is simply the examination of what I find to be an inspiring landscape. I can be happy with this level because itallows me to tame the visual beast that resides in me, but I cannot be totally satisfied with this somewhat simplistic reasoning. On another level this work is the tale of an oppressed people who were forced to struggle against the panoramas that I find so inspiring. Generation after generation of immigrants were lured by lies and false promises to work in these fields. These people became martyrs to the Industrial Revolution., the furnaces of which were fed by the coal in the hills that I am photographing. I cannot photograph the Industrial Revolution. All that is left to me are the artifacts and impressions in the earth from what was an era of giants. I value this level of my work as a dialogue between environment and humanity and to analyze the symbiotic relationship that each has in the shaping of the other. This is the thought that I am, perhaps inadequately, trying to convey to those who see these photographs
My statement is simple and to the point:
I document reality, I do it for the love and enjoyment of taking pictures.
I also have another statement I tend to live by that sends shivers up my friends who milk the literary/arts grant system in Canada: Death before arts grants.
"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
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