Intro by Skip Cohen
I've written extensively over the years about your website's "About" section. Yet, every day I read statements by photographers written in the third person, talking about their awards and listing gear they use, classes they've taken, etc. Your target audience, for the most part, doesn't care.
I've shared my buddy Scott Bourne's artist statement before. It's the perfect example of the approach so many of you need to take. For most of you in the portrait/social specialties, your target is Mom! She's not interested in anything but why you love being a photographer. She needs to know if you can be trusted to capture the kinds of images she wants most. To get her to that point, you need to share why you love being an artist.
When Scott first shared his artist's statement below, he wrote:
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.
And there's my point - just write from your heart. Don't worry about being sappy. Share your passion for the craft and your clients. Write it all in the first person and finish with a facsimile of your signature. Make it personal because that's what your clients most often need to see the most!
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.
Image copyright Scott Bourne. All rights reserved.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.