Share your "Artist Statement"
Communicating via an Internet forum is so informal, almost conversational. I'm interested in reading the Artist Statements from the exhibits of other photographers...to see what they wrote about their work, when they had time to fully organize their thoughts. I'm also curious to see if they spawn any debates! To get the ball rolling, here's mine from my last show:
"I have always been unwilling to explain why I photograph as I do, or to define what meaning my images hold for me. I believe that any artist who feels a need to tell a viewer of their work how it should be interpreted, has failed.
Every person brings with them a life experience through which they understand and give meaning to their interpretation of the world before them. Ansel Adam's photograph, Northern California Coast Redwoods, can be seen as massive columns of strength, an ancient rain forest, natures perfect expression of endurance, of life. Another person may recognize the scene as the edge of a clear cut, the face of yet another remnant piece of ancient forest doomed to fall, a requiem.
I had an experience when I first attended art school in Vancouver. After several months of living in a big city for the first time, feeling utterly removed from any contact with wilderness, I found myself at an Emily Carr exhibit. Months of concrete made my senses keenly aware of Carr's vision of BC's coast. One painting however, The Red Cedar, held me. For fifteen minutes I stood before the painting utterly taken in by it's rhythms - the crowds in the gallery faded away; it was just the painting and me. I have returned to see The Red Cedar but have never had that response again.
Our experience of art is as fluid and unpredictable as life. We see what we see, when we are ready to receive it.
The Artist's Statement ultimately and necessarily is the work itself. Some will recognize what an artist is attempting to say, some will spin off towards other equally valid interpretations totally unexpected by the artist, while yet others, either unready for or unmoved by the works will scan them as meaningless.
My intention by stopping before and composing these scenes out of the totality and infinite possibilities in nature, or what technical and manipulative processes were used to create these images are moot. They will or will not live, on their own."
Looking forward to reading yours!
I hear Jdef has a nice one
I have never one to shrink from placing my head on a block - this is my current statement:
Concepts, Ideas and Themes
David’s main interest is in creating abstract images. His primary motivation is to produce work for the 21st century in the spirit of the great abstract photographers of the past. He is particularly interested in the concept of the artist in post-modern society as a kind of shaman or spiritual guide.
Processes and Techniques
Having experimented freely in a number of styles since his return to photography some 10 years ago after 20 years of inactivity, he now feels able to use large format equipment fluidly, without any feeling of encumbrance, and is very much enjoying doing so, particularly the capacity of large-format photography to allow exploration of texture in a way which is very difficult with smaller-sized equipment and in the additional temporal dimension with this type of work, both in the time required to produce an image and, in the case of landscape, in the slight degree of movement of certain parts of images resulting from the relatively long exposure times used.
Influences and Aims
Jazz musicians, especially Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Duke Ellington. The Goon Show. The classic abstract photographers, such as Edward Weston, his son Brett Weston, and in particular the Weston disciple Minor White. Painters such as Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. In general, any artist who is committed to making a statement about today rather than repeating him/herself.
In my experience, artist's statements are generally pretentious, regardless of medium. They tend to be written in some foreign language called 'art-speak' that involves the use of large words and long sentences. To me, an artist's statement like this tells me that I should like the art presented since the artist is 'smart'. I don't buy it, and I tend to completely ignore such statements...
My statement is a bit more down to earth:
Today's world is a very difficult place.
The recent activities in Iraq, the consistent unreset in the West Bank, SAR's...each of these, and the many other issues that we as humans must deal with ever add to the burden we carry. This constant strain can make our lives a very depressing place. One almost without hope.
What I'm trying to do with my photography is show people that beauty is everywhere around us - in the usual, and in the unusual. From grafitti under a bridge, to a snow-covered river bank, to a bridge support structure. Everywhere we go, everywhere we exist, there is always something that is beautiful - we just have to look for it.
And, above all, there is always hope.
And, why are artist's statements written in 3rd person? Did the artist write the statement? If so, why present it as if someone else wrote it? Is this to appear even more 'smart', by having 'someone else' say these things about the artist?
I was asked to contribute my artist's statement, so I did. If you don't like it, go to another thread.
My particular statement was on a group website, I copied and pasted it. To save time, I didn't re-write it in the first person. I don't know if this offends you - and I really don't care!
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I have never written an artist's statement. Since I am not The Queen I certainly would not write one in the third person. If I ever do write an artist's statement it will probably be something like:
'These are my photographs. I hope you remember them.'
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
I had never thought about this until very recently, and came up with this:
Ole is a Norwegian photographer who started photography at the age of 9 when he was given a Kodak Instamatic. Deciding that this was fun, he quickly graduated to a "real camera", his father's 1949 Welta Welti.
After the usual progression through ever more advanced equipment he decided something had been lost, and returned to simpler manual cameras, in sizes from 6x4.5 to 18x24cm. Since much of his equipment is approaching the century mark, the logical next step would be to return to the techniques then in use.
Most of his images are "one-offs", since he values experimentation more than consistency.
Pretentious bullshit in 3rd person? Of course!
Last edited by Ole; 01-14-2005 at 10:28 AM. Click to view previous post history.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
You misunderstand - I was not slagging your statement, but artists statements that are pretentious. There's nothing wrong with your statement - it's better than most!
Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
But I am curious- why was it written in 3rd person? Were you trying to avoid seeming like you were 'blowing your own horn', or was there some other reason? This is a serious question, not being asked to start a flame war. When I wrote my statement, I had to decide on how to write it, and I decided on 1st person. It seems more intimate (to me) to write it as if I was talking to the viewer directly, rather than have a narrator do it.
Hey, he get's it!
Originally Posted by Ole
You da man Ole! Even if you are dumping your 5x7...
How's about this....
"I like the old, the hand crafted, the authentic. Anything that stands on its own merits and does not rely on posturing, theorizing or convoluted explanation. I choose my subjects based how these authentic objects influenced our life. With the general rush to get things done and move on to the future, we are in danger of leaving behind the wonderful things of the recent past. My goal is to preserve the images of these things before they are gone. The general store and one-room Prairie schools are the latest inspirations for my images. These are photographs of places, absent of humans, but profoundly marked by their passage."
It's from the front page of my web site. (See link below) Not bad for an overview of what I do. My preference is to have an statement or introduction for each body of work I do. You will find them in each body of work in the web site.