My latest post for LPV magazine is up; in it I introduced the young photographers Naoyuki Hata and Ryosuke Iwamoto. I also talked about artist statements and concepts, in a somewhat clumsy way. The question behind the post was this: as a photographer, how can you represent yourself to someone?
On the one hand, it’s possible to claim that photographs on their own are enough. We could call this the “pure approach.” I happen to like this approach, but it may not be completely grounded in reality. I recently talked with Aya Fujioka, who’s been living in New York for the past few years. When she tells a New Yorker that she’s a photographer, the next question is, “well, what kind?” In that moment, she says, if you can’t justify yourself, you’re not a photographer. Mumbling something about pure contact with the viewer won’t cut it I guess.
So then we’re back into the realm of some kind of “statement,” whether written down on a white wall, or mumbled into some curator’s ear. We’re also getting close to “concept,” but I think these two ideas can be kept separate: it’s possible to put together words about photographs without using any big concepts. (Not that concepts are intrinsically evil or anything…) Something like the statement Naoyuki came up with at the end of the LPV article can work pretty well I think. Though he needs to stop laughing when he says his photos are straight!