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  1. #1

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    Ethics and an artist statments.

    After spend several agonizing hours writing my artist statment I have 25 first paragraphs and nothing else.

    Is it unethical to hire someone to write your artist statment? If yes, then should it be considered unethical to purchase precut matts and mounts? In both cases you are paying someone to prepare a more professional presentation then you are capable of.

    Im not a writer and dont hold myself out as one. Yet this one slip of paper can make or break your gallery submission/art school app/grant proposal.

    Any thoughts?
    [FONT="Book Antiqua"]Christopher Breitenstein[/FONT]<br>

    Http://www.wetlabphotography.com

  2. #2
    jovo's Avatar
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    I think the ethical issue is simply solved by attributing the 'pro' writer the way athletes and celebrities do, i.e. "your name" with, or, as told to "their name". However, the whole point (if there is one) of an artist's statement is to hear an articulation of the artist's approach to, or philosophy of, or reason for creating, or the like which presupposes that the 'artist' has actually thought about and put into words his vision (as one would have to do to work with a co-author) . If one hasn't done that, then having someone else make up something that sounds the way such a statement 'ought' to sound, would be unethical because it wouldn't reflect the mind of the artist.
    John Voss

    My Blog

  3. #3
    snegron's Avatar
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    I don't see anything wrong with hiring someone to write it for you. Writing would be his/her area of expertise, not yours. Part of your responsibilty as a photographer is to offer the best possible product to your client. This includes presentation, which includes writing.

  4. #4
    Curt's Avatar
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    No, Ansel Adams hired a man to "promote" him in a huge way and look at where he ended up. Or should I say that a man convinced Ansel Adams that he could promote him in a huge way?

    What is a publicist?
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  5. #5

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    As someone whos struggling with an artist statement right now, I find this really interesting.

    I think its in between. I would say having someone else totally write your statement is unethical. But on the other hand theres not that much of a difference between that, and attempting to write it yourself and having someone revise it for you. Its a bit of a thin line as to where it becomes unethical, but I know if I read a statement for an artist I liked that wasn't written by him or her, I wouldn't be happy.

    The matt analogy is a little different because those are just aesthetic concerns, your artist statement is more the ideas and defining you as an artist. Good luck.

    -Dan

  6. #6
    Matthew Gorringe's Avatar
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    All professional writers that I know of use editors and often these editors end up being at least as important to the finished product as the author.

    Why don't you have a bash at finishing the statement and then give it to someone to "edit". As long as the ideas are yours the way you express them shouldn't be an ethical concern.

  7. #7
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    I will agree with Mattg.

    The unethical bit would be to lie by omission when someone compliments you on how well you wrote your statement.

    Vaughn

    PS...after writing such statements for 25+ years it is fun to re-read them and see where my head has been. Some are a little embarrassing, some spot on, some surprise me. Then there was the one with the Haiku that I accidently added an extra word to -- and never knew it until years later!

  8. #8

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    Get a pro, it's not wrong it's smart

    [QUOTE=Vaughn;465748]I will agree with Mattg.

    The unethical bit would be to lie by omission when someone compliments you on how well you wrote your statement.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    Hmmm... the Artist's Statement. Yes, I can imagine how important it is to have an intelligent and well-written example for marketing purposes. Lord knows I've read many. Most are piffle -- when you look at the pictures, they don't reflect the ambition and sweep of the statement. There is nothing wrong with getting a pro writer to do it for you, but the writer should interview you, talk with you, gain an accurate understanding of what you and your work are about. Visual artists are notoriously bad at speaking and writing. I'll never forget one of my drawing teachers, an excellent draughtsman and even teacher but a pitiful speaker. I was drawing from the nude in the studio one day, and he came to stand behind me. I wasn't having a good day. He was silent for a long time, then said: "Well, like, um, you know... kind of... like... I just feel you aren't seeing it that well?" I handed him my conté crayon. He drew over my clumsy drawing, correcting perspective and giving depth and definition. Get a writer who can do this for your Artist's Statement!

  9. #9

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    Thank you, all of you have given me quite a bit to think about. I do know several very good writers and im sure I could hire one of them to help me out.

    Thank you all.
    [FONT="Book Antiqua"]Christopher Breitenstein[/FONT]<br>

    Http://www.wetlabphotography.com

  10. #10
    Curt's Avatar
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    Either you write it or someone else writes it. The only way it would be truly yours is if you write it or someone else just corrects the spelling. If they change anything in it then it is their Artists Statement not yours. You must write your own statement. If you can't write it then maybe you are not ready to write an Artists Statement and you should get a notebook and make notes on your ideas until you are clear about what your intent is.

    “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o'clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.”

    Charles Dickens

    Write it yourself and be the hero of your own life.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

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