I’m not alone in fearing and loathing artist’s statements. I’ve written my share of la-dee-da and contrarian and tortured artiste and obtuse versions — usually at the behest of whatever exhibition or call for entry had requested or required one. I have come to realize, however, that they can and do serve a good purpose when written with the proper intent. They can be a way for others to understand, with limits, what a photographer is about, who he or she is.
My new approach to artist’s statements is to follow the guidance I received from a history professor at university. He was providing the standard by which he would be grading our term papers. “What do you mean,” he said. “And how do you know.”
I’m not going to present an artist’s statement here. I am, however, gong to say a quick something about this photo — why I like it and why I hope you appreciate it, too. I believe what “makes” this rather ubiquitous bench scene is, of course, the vines and other vegetation growing through it. For me, though, it’s the plucky branch extending from the left, like a feather boa (to this associative mind, anyway), that sets this apart from others like it. I also like the contrasting horizontal lines and patterns, and that sliver of the basement window.
So there. I said it. I made a statement. Talk amongst yourselves.