When artists exhibit work, enter competitions, or submit to galleries, they are always asked to provide an “artist’s statement.” If you’ve never had to write an “artist’s statement” before, let me try to explain how difficult writing this short paragraph can be. At least it is for me.
Suppose you like to bake cookies. Through years of experimentation, you’ve settled on a cookie recipe that you love. Maybe not everyone likes your cookies, but you like them, and enough other people like them that you bake these cookies regularly. Now someone asks you for your “baker’s statement.”
“What?” you’d say.
“Tell me why you make these cookies this way.”
You’d probably respond something like, “Well, they taste good!”
“Not enough. What is it about this recipe that makes these cookies uniquely you?”
“Well, um, I started with my grandmother’s recipe and over time evolved it into something that had the right balance of flavor and chewiness, and.. I don’t know, I just like them!”
“You just don’t get it. I want a ‘Baker’s Statement!’ I want you to explain as if you are an introspective narcissist! Use more words than necessary, explain things too much, and when you’re done with the statement, you are still supposed to feel like people just don’t ‘get’ your cookies.”
“OK, OK! Let me try: ‘My cookies are a specific, evolved blend of flavors, both sweet and savory, sharp and subtle, that express my heritage and my desire to bring joy to others through flat, round, carbohydrate-based snack foods. The texture is delicate, yet substantial, giving the eater the assurance it won’t crumble in the hand, yet will be easily chewed once in the mouth.'”
(Pause.) “THAT’S IT!!!!! NOW you get it!”
When it comes to my photography, my immediate but inarticulate thought is “I dunno… I just shoot what I like and try to make interesting pictures that people want to look at.” In truth I guess I am trying to convey something more than “a nice picture” but putting it into words, or indeed even saying so at all feels too narcissistic and navel-gazing for comfort. Yet this site contains my Artist’s Statement, and I paste it here below for your reading pleasure:
“Through my photography I try to evoke feelings that are more easily represented in images rather than words: a slant of light, a certain stillness, a fleeting glimpse, a half-forgotten dream, a buried memory. I explore entropy and the passing of time through my chosen subjects and methods, including long exposure, digital manipulation, and the use of instant film, enlarged and printed, to reveal paint-like grain and emulsion that gives the image a timeless and tactile quality.”
<End Artist’s Statement>