Photographer bios are one of the most important and simultaneously challenging to create. You need to be able to write a clear yet intriguing short text that is captivating for your audience.
As a photographer, the importance of a bio has never been more crucial. This is what distinguishes you from other applicants and creates a more professional look.
In it’s simplest form, photographers biography is a summary of you as an artist in a few paragraphs.
It might also be confusing to know the difference between an artist bio and an artist statement, and how to know which one to use in your portfolio.
Your bio is the first written introduction of your work and experience and it should be done properly. Here are some essential tips to know when writing your artist bio.
Your bio should represent you as an artist. It should accurately describe what you do and how you’re doing it.
If analog photography is essential to your work, it should be written in your bio. Any specific themes you work with should be added. Make sure you know who your work is for, and specify it when writing your bio.
You might need to change it a bit when applying for different festivals or publications.
The bio is usually about 120-150 words long written introduction which you add to your portfolio when applying to exhibitions or shows. This is not to be confused with your CV or an artist statement.
What To Write in Your Photographer Bio
We will be going through some bio examples and see what is written in them.
You can make sure you are answering the following
- Your name
- Year of birth and country is considered professional
- Your medium and methodology
- The themes you work with (and why they are important)
You can also add other information like exhibitions, collaborations, and projects – past or recent that you find relevant. Do not add more than 2, otherwise it might become a full on CV.
What is your WHY
Why do you create? Perhaps you don’t know why, perhaps you are just compelled, obsessed even.
Did you experience hardship at an early age and find comfort or solace in art? If you feel comfortable doing so, I encourage you to share this with your audience.
Examples Of Different Bios
Here are some examples I found on different bios from photography artists. You can choose the writing style you want to use, and it should emphasize your themes and overall narrative in your work.
For example, if you work with sensuality and subjects of vulnerability, you might find poetic writing to better suit your work.
Jane Yudelman was born in South Africa, grew up in England, and now divides her time between Massachusetts and Maine. Having worked professionally for many years in poverty-alleviation programs around the world, she turns to photography to remind herself of the beauty that exists in a world of economic, social, and political injustice. Her photography focuses on discovering abstract expressions of this beauty in the natural world.
You can see how this bio is very straightforward and underlines the artist’s experiences and how she turned them into visual narratives in her work. She also brings up her origin, which can generally communicate why some themes are of interest to the artist. There was no mention of the methodology she uses, but once you look at her work you definitely see an abstract element.
Rita Anttila‘s photography shows a very personal insight into how to translate and process feelings and memories into an own room with a view – Her perspective reads far more like a poem than a photograph as her images capture the very thin balance between who she is, where she comes from, and where she dreams to go: Anttila aims to depict a poetic awareness whereas death defines her perception of longing – it lingers in her chest and decays a memory. In order to make sense of it, she reads poetry. Through these personal aesthetics, she searches atonement for a yearning that feels endless.
This is a great example of poetic writing style; addressing more of how the work makes the artist feel instead of what it actually represents. In poetic writing, it is essential to understand not to describe the work too abstractly, for it to be understandable for the audience. Looking at her work you can see the clear absence of something and that translates into the longing she writes about.
Additional Things To Consider While Writing Your Bio
Make sure you know who your audience is and why are you working with the themes present in your work. Regardless if it’s difficult to narrow your themes, it is easier for your audience to immediately understand what it is you’re doing and relate to it on a personal level.
The audience who can relate to your work is more likely to feel compelled to engage with it. This is also be true regarding your bio. Make it punctual and interesting. I remember my art academy often asking; ‘Would your mother understand it if she’d read it?‘
In any case, your bio should have a nice flow to it and to be understandable. Don’t be afraid of letting someone proofread it, this will improve your criticism intake and make you realize what doesn’t work.
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