Artist Statement

An artist statement was required for the Odd Works submission, so I had to get off the pot and finally write one. I sweated bullets over it, because knowing what I want to shoot and why is really just a gut instinct to me. Putting it into words that would rationally explain it to a 3rd party was so… the opposite of that and I really struggled with it.

I found this site to be helpful. (I found it by Googling “how to write an artist statement”, like, BEHOLD MY INTERNET KUNG-FU!) It started you out with really basic stuff–lists of words, then phrases, then sentences–and eventually built those blocks into 3 paragraphs. The first is about why you do the art you do, the second is about how you make the decisions that you do in your art (why certain materials and subjects as opposed to others), and the third is about the art you’re currently doing.

As a child, I saw beauty all around me, and I wanted to be able to put a frame around it and share it with others. I felt like an artist, but one that had not discovered my medium. I tried painting and sketching, but was frustrated by how what ended up on canvas or paper never matched the visions I had in my head. I loved looking at the old photographs my grandmother kept in shoeboxes, but it hadn’t yet occurred to me that this was a medium I had not tried. I was given a Polaroid Sun 600 when I was 10 and my family went on vacation in Hawaii. Watching that first photo of a waterfall develop in my hand, I knew I had found what I’d been looking for. Every passing second of life is unique and will never be repeated. Photographs freeze and preserve these moments.

Those childhood dreams inform both my material and subject matter. I take photos of fairly ordinary things, things that most anyone might see in the course of their everyday life: a cemetery, a tree, a bridge over a river. To me, those things can be magical, and my photographs make them appear magical to other people, too. I never fully embraced digital, preferring instead to mostly use materials that were common in my childhood, or even in my mother’s or grandmother’s youth; equipment and material that could have produced those old photographs in the shoeboxes. I like cameras that are imperfect, because life and memory are not perfect, because I don’t believe perfection arouses an emotional response.

I grew up in California, but spent childhood vacations in south Louisiana, with my grandparents. Throughout my life, Louisiana retained a special luster, memories that became both softer and more extravagant as the years passed. I moved here permanently in 2010, and before I looked for a job or got my driver’s license, I started taking photographs. The photographs are those childhood memories and feelings made visible. My purpose as an artist in Louisiana is to share my love of it, my feeling that it is an enchanted place, with others. Even if they are a native of the state, I hope my photographs can show them their home in a way that they have never seen it before.

As always, constructive criticism will be accepted with weepy gratitude. This kind of stuff will probably always feel foreign to me. IF I WAS GOOD WITH WORDS I WOULD BE A WRITER, NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER!

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