If a picture is worth a thousand a thousand words, could you write those words? Can you communicate about your own work? Can you write intelligently about your process, your influences, your passions, your creative issues? While your work should do most of the talking for you, the fact remains that we occasionally have to write about what we do. The impact and emotional response received from your work should initiate a conversation from you to your audience. Often this conversation needs to be written and/or spoken as well. We are also asked to write art statements, personal philosophies, our opinions of other artist’s work, titles and meanings to our work, etc.
Concise and intelligent writing will enhance your viewer’s understanding of your work and possibly be an introduction to your mind. If words are always needed to explain your images, however, that is a different situation, perhaps a predicament. To write about your work is to inform, educate, challenge, provoke, question, and give inspiration with your work. Can you do it and can you do it well? Words can provide a wider context for your ideas and images but they can also get in the way. Be careful. Your words should only open doors for your viewer to discover the meaning of your work for themselves. One should never feel the need to explain everything as an artist, nor justify their work, or tell your audience what or how to feel.
Photography itself is a form of language and an instant dialogue is initiated upon viewing an artist’s work. Words can compliment that dialogue, expand it, and perhaps extend into other worlds thematically and emotionally. If you do nothing but dangle participles, if you don’t even know what a participle is, nor the difference between a verb or an adverb, how can you write effectively about your own work?
If this conversation about being able to write is throwing a bit of a scare into you, you need to address it. If you can’t spell, if you cannot diagram or construct a grammatically correct sentence, if you are prone to abbreviations, texting symbols and cute little icons, pull your head out of cyber space, rediscover the dictionary and do WHATEVER you need to do to learn how to write properly! Your writing is yet again another extension of your work and who you are as an artist. Words matter.