How Does a Photographer Write About Their Work? @SteveGiovinco

How Does a Photographer Write About Their Work?

I spent a few hours writing a Guggenheim Fellowship letter of recommendation for a friend yesterday.
It turned into a very helpful exercise because it allowed me to think critically about someone else’s work, which I could then apply to my own.

Crafting a statement, grant proposal or letter is a continually evolving process, leading to further tweaks as I ask myself, “What are these photographs really about?”

Looking at others’ work helps. That’s also why museum visits are so beneficial. I sometimes come back from a show and find myself updating my statement or a fellowship application (it seems like it never ends).

But the obvious challenge is that most photographers are not normally excellent writers. Translating images into words can be especially elusive. Another challenge that many creatives face is what they THINK the work is about could be quite different than what the viewer experiences. This gap in perceptions can be hard to bridge.

One thing that I always come back to is the photographs themselves. What are they telling me? What story do they have? And how can I clearly explain this to a stranger who knows nothing about my work?

When doing this, I avoid jargon, be clear, and am not afraid to show my personality when necessary.

That’s why writing the Guggenheim letter of recommendation was such a helpful exercise. Even though it took me about four hours, it seemed like a great usage of my time for the revelations it provided.

Comments are closed.