How To Fine-Tune Your Artist Statement

Once you’ve written your artist statement, you’ll want to fine-tune it to make it the best it can possibly be. Follow these steps:

  1. Compare your draft to your project and to your practice as a photographer.
  • Do the ideas and details portray you and your photography authentically? Delete those that don’t.
  • Do any of the images in your series express something that’s not covered by the main points in your draft? Consider removing those images or expressing their contribution to your project in your statement.
  • Are there any images you didn’t include in your series that speak to the main points in your statement better than those you have included? Include those that most strongly support your statement.
  • Do you express your present goals or those you hope to have in the future? Speak about today. Include only your present goals.
  • Similarly, do you include ideas that used to be relevant about you or your work but no longer are? Remove those.
  1. Get an objective perspective from three people:
  • One person who knows your photography well.
  • One person who doesn’t know your photography at all.
  • One person who’s good with words who may or may not know your photography.
  1. Go through these steps with each individual:
  • Show them your body of work, telling them the series title and image titles and/or captions. Don’t give them any more information.
  • Have them read your artist statement.
  • Ask them if the words express what they see in your images:
    • What words or phrases seem to accurately portray what the images show?
    • Are there words or images that do not seem to accurately portray what the images show?
    • Are there images included in the series that do not support the salient points in the statement?
    • Are there any words or phrases that are confusing or off-topic?
  1. First, just listen and let them do the talking. You don’t want their feedback to be influenced by your opinions, thoughts or questions.
  2. Then, share your thoughts and ask them any specific questions you have.
  3. Evaluate their feedback. Keep in mind their background and interests as you assess their response. Try not to be defensive or take anything personally. Consider sleeping on it so you can be as open as possible to what they say.
  4. Incorporate the revisions you deem appropriate and relevant based on their feedback.
  5. Review your statement once again for typos and other grammatical errors.
  6. Read it aloud to ensure it flows in a conversational manner.
  7. Pat yourself on the back and bask in all your hard work!

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