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39 - Write an Artist Statement

Many photographers write an artist statement, manifesto, or credo.

One of the main topics in such statements is why the photographer does photography.

Alfred Stieglitz wrote:

I was born in Hoboken.

I am an American.

Photography is my passion.

The search for truth my obsession.1

Ansel Adams wrote:

My approach to photography is based on my belief in the vigor and values of the world in nature—in the aspects of grandeur and of the minutiae all about us.

I believe in growing things, and in things which have grown and died magnificently.

I believe in people and in the simple aspects of human life, and in the relation of man to nature.

I believe that man must be free, both in spirit and society, that he must build strength into himself, affirming the "enormous beauty of the world" and acquiring the confidence to see and to express his vision.

And I believe in photography as one means of expressing this affirmation, and of achieving an ultimate happiness and faith.2

Here are some other artist statements:

J. G. Ballard: What I Believe

Julia Margaret Cameron

Robert Frank: A Statement

Group f/64 Manifesto

What's your approach?

Have a look at other photographer's artist statements by using this Google search.

Begin by collecting your thoughts with the Creative Energy Questionnaire.

Then, write an artist statement.

Write about the who, what, where, when, and why.

The who includes yourself, of course, and others, such as a teacher who influenced your work.

The when includes what you're doing now, where you've been, and future goals.

Keep it clear and concise.

Let it rest for awhile.

It will evolve over time.

Be sure to have other people check the spelling, grammar, content, and the style/personality of the voice with which you're writing.

Also, have a look at How to Write an Artist's Statement, written by a career coach.

1 From the catalogue for a Stieglitz exhibition at the Anderson Galleries, in New York, during 1921.

2 Adams, A. (1943). A personal credo. The American Annual of Photography 1944, 58, pp. 7-16. Reprinted in Newhall, B. (1980). Photography: Essays & images. New York: Museum of Modern Art.