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Professional Contexts Blog

Colin Pantall Writing in Photography and The Personal Statement

The following notes were taken during Colin Pantall’s writing masterclass sessions. I will be writing about the process of the project statement on my project blog and write up general tips on writing here to refer back to.

The project statement is usually 150-200 words and should cover the what, why and how. It can be in first or third person, whichever is best. Make it specific, but avoid key words and abstractions. The project is about selecting key points to tell the story and what it is that makes your story interesting. What is the work that you are making and what are the the issues that it examines and are there concrete examples.

David Perlmutter states that there are eight ways to understand an image; production, content, function, figurative, expression, rhetorical-moral, societal period and comparative.

Statements describe the projects and locate it within professional environments. They feed into the visual elements of the project. It has the ability to give additional information on research and the thought process.It helps to place the work into wider professional artistic and thematic contexts, promoting your work, energy, enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and passion.

I usually do not have too many problems when writing about and contextualising my work and Colin said that my first draft of a project statement only needed a couple of tweaks. Having these guidances will make the process of writing easter as they can but used as a checklist to enable myself to cover any areas which I may have missed.

The Personal Statement

The personal statement which when completed I will include on my website should highlight your skills, achievements, interests and passions whilst hooking someone into reading it. Its intent is to put your work into context and is not about your achievements or career. They should be used to make a claim about your work and your self as an artist, what are you trying to say in your work and what are your intentions. Include any relevant movements, philosophical, personal or social factors. I have chosen to write mine in the third person as this felt more professional, however the negative of this is that it is quite obvious that at this stage of my career, it clearly was me who wrote this about myself.

Here is the artist statement I have written to go onto my website:

I am a fine-art and documentary photographer, using quietness to my advantage, I observe situations, then recall them through clean compositions and muted colour schemes. My work at times feels close to poetry despite the subject matter often being the mundane, with the aims of the work being to capture the exceptional within the unexpected. My strife for this comes from growing up in the rural landscape which can feel distant and behind the times. Nostalgia and memory of the past also tend to linger throughout my work which is narrative heavy, due to my motivations to tell stories through still imagery.

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