Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Artist Statement

So, I've been thinking of putting up a portfolio site. I know, I know... how could I not already have one? Well, I don't. And I haven't. And I wouldn't be thinking of making one now if it weren't for some people who recently asked me where they could look at my work.

If there's one thing the world needs, of course, it's another photographer putting up another portfolio site and who am I to deny the world something it so urgently needs? Something, I should add, that just happens to be in the realm of things I can personally deliver. (Providing I get my ass in gear and do it.)

I do have pictures posted in various portfolios on various sites: Sites like Garage Glamour dot com, Super Shoots dot net, Model Mayhem dot com, Flickr and more. But those don't really qualify as my own, personal portfolio. Plus, I don't change them or update them very often. Practically never, in fact. I already have URLs reserved in my name. In fact, I've paid for (and not used) those URLs for a number of years. Apparently, I was thinking ahead when I paid for the URLs even if, in retrospect, I was more of a forward thinker than a forward doer.

A friend told me that if I'm going to put up a personal portfolio, I should author an Artist Statement. Okay. I can do that. Here's one: "I snap pictures of pretty girls, dressed and undressed."

My friend told me that won't do. He said my artist statement needs to say so much more. It needs to convey a much more flattering, perhaps even flowery, statement regarding what I shoot. It needs to go beyond a simple and honest sentence or two which merely states I shoot pretty girls in various stages of dress and undress. It needs to impart, in words, how my photography has true meaning, artistic meaning, meaning that transcends the ordinary and explores the human condition in, well, in very artistic ways.

Yeah. I guess I can do that. I suppose I can write words that reflect my photography in eloquent, if swollen ways. The words might seem bombastic and grandiose to some, most certainly to myself, but what artist hasn't thought of themselves in bombastic and grandiose ways? It kinda goes with the territory. Leastwise, often enough it does.

So, I sat down to write my swollen, eloquent, bombastic, grandiose artist statement. It turned out to be more difficult than I had imagined. No matter how I attacked my writing assignment, it kept giving me the feeling I was being something less than truthful and something more, much more, than full of myself. Every time I read the flowery prose I wrote, it seemed ridiculous and absurd because, after all, what I really do is simply shoot pretty girls, clothed, unclothed, and all points in between. When I'm doing that, I'm not really doing anything much more than trying to photograph my models looking their best, their sexiest, their most beautiful and alluring. Some of them need more help than others for me to accomplish that but that's what it's all about: Making due with what you have to work with.

Then I thought, "Why don't I ask someone else to write this stuff for me?" After all, if someone else writes it, it's not me going out of my way to appear artistically ostentatious. It might end up sounding that way, artistically ostentatious that is, but at least they weren't my words. They would be the words of someone else and can I help it if that someone else went a little overboard describing my work? Sure, I'd be a co-conspirator and an accomplice but, to make an analogy, it's not like I'd be the one robbing the bank, I'd just be the guy planning the heist. Somehow, in my mind, right or wrong, that seems less of a crime.

Then, I discovered this little website that actually writes your artist statement for you! How cool is that? I wouldn't even be a co-conspirator or an accomplice. I'd just be some guy letting an anonymous algorithm automatically generate my artist statement.

So that's what I did.

Here's the artist statement my new friend, the cyber-algorithm artist statement generator, wrote for me. I did a small amount of editing on it. You know, just to make it a bit more "me." Like many other artist statements I've seen, I think it's suitably over-the-top, verbose, and pretentious.

My work explores the relationship between the body and life as performance. With influences as diverse as George Hurrell, Edward Weston, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Sigmund Freud, new visions are created from both simple and complex meanings. Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by the ephemeral nature of meaning. What starts out as vision soon transforms into a cacophony of perversely poetic photographic sensuality, leaving only a sense of nihilism and the inevitability of a new beginning. As spatial forms become clarified through diligent and personal practice, the viewer is left with an impression of the edges of our human condition.

Pretty cool, huh? Does that not make me sound like a true "arteest" or what?

BTW, if and when I put up a portfolio site for myself, I won't have any annoying music playing on it. After all, it's a photography portfolio, not an online radio station.

The sultry pretty girl at the top is Hailey. (Click to enlarge. Size sometimes does matter.) Hailey's posed in front of a white seamless and I kept her image very high-key cuz, well, cuz that's what I decided I wanted to do with it. I used 3 lights and a reflector to photograph Hailey: A 60" Photek Softlighter for my main with a LumoPro Lite Panel reflector opposite for fill plus a couple of small, shoot-thru umbrellas, either side from behind.

I know I'm beating this to death lately but there's only today until midnight tomorrow, June 30, to purchase either or both of my ebooks for 25% off the already low price of $9.95. Just use discount code JUNESPECIAL when purchasing and your 25% discount will be automatically applied to the purchase price. Links to purchase my ebooks, Guerrilla Glamour and Guerrilla Headshots, are located in the right-hand column of this page.


Drake - The Klicking Bandit said...

I've always ADMIRED your brutal honesty. Straight up, no chaser.

That's why your FIRST statement that says,

"I snap pictures of pretty girls, dressed and undressed."

is the best statement.

John said...

I agree with Drake. The generated statement is NOT the JimmyD I've come to appreciate.

Dave said...

Artist BS statements are the soul searching introspection for new budding artist who have no clue what will be their niche.

Your first statement is a perfect example of what you're preaching inside your excellent Guerra eBooks - KISS! Your artist statement is done, now more photos of pretty girls and posts telling it like it is please. :-D (iTurd Polisher, HA!)

Giles Farrington said...

Your first statement rocks!! Saw this website last week mademe laugh alot.

jimmyd said...

@Giles: LOL! You already know, of course, that's the site I used to generate my swollen, bombastic, ostentatious, pretentious, grandiose artist statement... you know, not the first statement but the one I wouldn't be caught dead using if I do end up putting a personal portfolio online. :-)

Bill Giles said...

Joe Edelman's blog recently had an entry on Taglines, his being "I shoot people". Yours has similar elements, being straightforward, simple and easy to understand. Obviously not an artist's statement. The artist's statement is intended to obfuscate and baffle the reader. I remember the old saying "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullsh*t". I think that your statement generator accomplishes just that.

Nadja said...

I really love this black and white photo.
(I'm a B&W addict... I confess...)
It's just perfect.
It's true, your cynism is very amusing.
Grinning a lot here.
But, besides that, I think I can really learn from it.
It's a great way of sharing wisdom, as I see it.
A night in the pub with you must be priceless.
But I'll settle for the blog. ...
(I have to stay sober anyway...
Thanks a lot! XXX
Oh, people who don't understand the high artistic value
and profound meaning of your first and orginal statement.. Are lost...
Nevermind them. "-))