Intro by Skip Cohen
This is one of my most favorite archived posts by my buddy Scott Bourne, and it's so relevant for many of you today.
During one of my workshops at ShutterFest last week, I talked about the importance of every artist's "About" page. It's one of your two most valuable pieces of website real estate. Your galleries hook the clients into getting excited about your work, and your "About" page gives you a chance to share what's in your heart.
So many of you waste space talking about awards, your gear and how you got started when the only thing a potential client wants to know is whether or not you can be trusted to capture images the way they see them in their mind's eye. Your "About" page needs to be a statement about why you're a photographer, not what you know how to do.
Relationship building is your strongest marketing tool and your artist statement is your first opportunity to start to build that relationship. Share the love you have for working with people, capturing memories and the importance of the trust your past clients have put in your work.
Remember, your goal is always to exceed expectations and make yourself habit-forming!
by Scott Bourne
“ YOU are not your photography.”
So tell us something about what it’s like for you to make a photo. Share your heart. That’s how you write an artist’s statement.
Rather than give you a checklist of what to include in your statement, I’m simply going to show you mine. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do this. I think you just have to write from your heart or be inspired by someone or something else who shares your vision. I re-wrote my statement a few years ago when some comments I received on my images helped me to see what others were seeing in my work, but which I lacked the proper mirror to see.
Note: The image above was photographed by Scott during the tragedy of the BP oil spill. It's one of my most favorite images and does a great job of explaining his position with photographing animals. "I speak for the creatures which have no voice," he said. The images below were shot last week and just recently shared on his Facebook page.
Scott Bourne's Artist Statement
For me, wildlife art photography is about two connecting themes: extraordinary craftsmanship in terms of technical mastery of photography and a fundamental understanding of the dynamics of the nature behind the image.
At a deeper level, however, I pursue this art form because of its almost religious qualities.
One day, I can have a vision in my mind that represents a photograph I want to make. This vision exists only in my head and my heart – it’s a silent vision which has the power to bring me out into the field, month after month, year after year, for a chance to turn that vision into something tangible that I can share with others.
The other religious aspect of my work is focus and devotion to an idea over which I have absolutely no control.
I learn all that I can about the natural factors behind each photographic opportunity, but I never know how they will play out. My artistry focuses on the beauty of things which are random. Wildlife operates within its own free will. The bird flies its own path.
It’s different than working in a photography studio where I have control over the set, the model and the lights. As a wildlife artist, my gift is to know how to “show up prepared” to interact with beauty that I do not control. I must learn to be at peace with my subject on their terms, not on mine.
I struggle with finding the patience and the path. But when that struggle becomes the hardest, I remember my calling. I speak for the creatures which have no voice. Perhaps this is why the experience is so emotional for me.
Each time I get a perfect moment and capture that with my camera, I experience joy and sadness. I am joyful because the finished work provides me with a lifelong memory of a successful vision. But I also feel sadness that the pursuit is over.
After that moment, the cycle begins again, and I launch the pursuit of the next creative vision. I hope to share that vision well enough that others may someday wish to help speak for the animals too.
Images copyright Scott Bourne. All rights reserved.