Fine Art Photography

Conquering the Dreaded Artist Statement: Expert Advice for Writing about Art Photography

August 28, 2017

By Conor Risch

© Ron Jude

An image from Ron Jude’s book Lago. A photography professor, Jude says he urges his students to think of artist statements not as homework assignments, but as “something that has a useful purpose in the world.”

Artist statements are dreaded and mocked by critics, curators and even artists themselves for their overwrought, specialized and often predictable language. “There is a stultifying, eyeball-rolling, headache-inducing norm out there,” says John Pilson, a photographer, video artist and professor at Yale School of Art. While many artists would rather skip the statements altogether, writing is “an important part of the...

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