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Photography by Gaz Williams

Artist’s Statement

The final element of the personal information trio required by the course is the Artist’s Statement. There are obviously two types of this, firstly there’s the all-encompassing form which covers the artist’s complete work and describes the common threads that link the various portfolios and works together. Then there’s the more specific one that links to a particular body of work, much as we were asked to provide for the previous module, Body of Work.

Since the only portfolio that I’m publicising during this module is that portfolio then I’m just going to continue using that. If I need to introduce other works in parallel I’l create another specific Statement for that pf and an all-encompassing one to link the works together.

Sine I didn’t receive any criticism of my portfolio-specific statement from my tutor in BoW nor did the assessors comment on it I’ll just assume that it’s OK for now though it will almost certainly change before any exhibition.

Artist’s Statement

      The majority of visitors to Windsor Great Park follow the same routes as their predecessors, constrained by their own preconceptions of the area, afraid to leave the beaten path and create their own experience. These preconceptions have been created by images and text in magazines and social media, an imagined geography that develops the Tourism Space that is Windsor Great Park and is then itself modified by that Tourism Space.

     In my exploration of the Park I’ve come to love those other areas, the ones that lie outside of this predefined space requiring the visitor to step off the beaten path and explore.

    Each of these images shows a glimpse of that “other side”, accessible to those who would leave the beaten path and discover their own world, treating the rabbit hole as a portal rather than as a barrier.

About => Biography

Having written the About Page the Bio flowed quite easily so here’s a first draft though it is likely to change a lot – even before my tutor gets to see it.

Bio

Growing up in the busy coastal area of North Wales I soon discovered the joys of leaving the tourist trails and exploring  the beaten track, discovering the wildlife, forests and rugged beauty of Snowdonia. Moving down to the South East I thought that I’d lost the opportunity but I discovered that Windsor Great Park afforded the chance to explore in a similar, but more cultivated, way whilst photography trips to Africa and Asia only increased my love of wildlife and nature.

     Retirement afforded the opportunity to explore, both locally and abroad and I came to enjoy the tranquillity and serenity of these extremes. On the one hand was the Park, home to the Kings and Queens of England whilst, on the other hand, was the wilderness and vast open expanse of Africa.  During this period, I started studying for a BA Photography degree to help capture these beautiful environments and pass that beauty on to others.

     My work has since been featured in the Guardian Magazine, the Observer, Country Life and other magazines and I’ve been fortunate enough to have two prize-winning images exhibited at the Joe Cornish Gallery in Yorkshire.  

     A love of all things Italian, including the language, fills what little time I have left during the day.

Gaz

About Page

OK, I’ll just duplicate the “About Page” here so that the flow of the blog makes sense. The formatting is a bit off in the post compared to the page but it should make sense.

 

 

        Gaz Williams is a nature photographer based in Windsor, Berkshire. His early life in North Wales, living next to the sea but with access to the forests, rivers and rugged mountains of the area inspired in him a love of nature. Avoiding the crowds led him to develop a love of exploring, of leaving the beaten path inhabited by the many, and discovering those hidden areas, accessible only to the adventurous.

 

     His prize-winning work has twice been exhibited at the Joe Cornish Gallery in Northallerton, Yorkshire and full-page commercial images have appeared in the Guardian Magazine, the Observer, Country Life and other magazines. His travel photography has taken pride of place on the brochures of companies to highlight travel to those out of the way places, away from the crowds.

 

     His first solo exhibition, featuring the hidden areas of Windsor Great Park, will be held late 2018

My Biography

The course notes suggest looking at an article by Michael Margolis entitled The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King.  Looking at the site there’s another interesting article entitled How To Write an “About Me” Page That Gets You Hired. The way that Margolis describes things there’s a lot of overlap between the “About Page” and the Bio so let’s start by looking at some About Pages that might be relevant.

Sharon Boothroyd was my previous tutor who I admired before she left to concentrate on her other roles and undertake a PhD. Her about page is simple, consisting of four brief paragraphs :-

  1. what she’s doing now (her PhD)
  2. her approach to art/photography
  3. her professional role
  4. her publication history

It’s very simple and effective but has much more academic and professional detail than I would be able to include and could be considered a CV/Bio crossover.

Gill Aspel is a local photographer, one of Windsor’s “official photographers”. Her about page is similar in size and format to Sharon’s but describes more about her and her background than it does about her historic work. This is much more in keeping with my idea of how my Bio should look.

Andy Skillen is a wildlife photographer that I’ve long admired, especially after meeting him at a show where he took the time to advise me on printing and other bits and pieces. His website includes a very personal about page which glosses over his vast array of publications and awards, preferring to concentrate on the personal details – why he does what he does and why he enjoys it. Incidentally, he describes how he’s always on foot and as close to his subjects as possible. The photo on his web page certainly reflects this !

Ingun Alette Mæhlum’s about page is very simple but I like it. It’s simply her photograph followed by

Ingun Alette Mæhlum is a documentary photographer based in Tromsø in Northern Norway. She does most of her work above the Arctic circle, and luckily she loves working in rough weather.

As well as working on her own documentary projects, she takes on various assignments for magazines and newspapers. She has received several national prizes for her photographs.

Then four small tiles showing her commercial endeavours. I like it but it wouldn’t work for me.

Tom Hunter’s Info page is similar to Sharon’s above which isn’t to surprising given his status and his CV. Interestingly he has a link to his CV underneath the four paragraphs of his Bio which might well be the way to go forward.

Rather than go on through a few hundred pages I think that Andy Skillen’s is the way that I’d move forward with some of the local elements that Gill Aspel introduces.

From everything that I’ve read and thought about , the Bio and the About Page are pretty well the same thing in the sense they’re telling my story, what drives, me, what interests me. In many ways they could hold the same information but phrased slightly differently given their use.

I feel as though I’m making heavy weather of this and over-thinking it but it’s something that I want to get right before looking for the formal feedback. Let’s start with an About Page and see if that converts easily to a Bio.

I felt very strange writing this About Page, basically talking about myself in the third person while making the best of my limited experience. I’m sure that it will change as I tweak it, move things around, but I’m happy with it for a start.

To save people going to that page I’ll put it in the next blog entry so that the story of my website etc flows in sequence through the blog.

Gaz

 

CV & Bio

I have a pretty good idea how I want to finish this module with an exhibition, backed up by a book and website which might seem to be a scattergun approach, just doing everything possible, but I can see the three working together in this, a local project with local interest. Much of the work will be in the practicalities such as ensuring that all the building blocks are in place and that will determine how I approach this module.

Part of this section of the module looks at the personal information required by an artist to show to prospective clients or audiences in form of a CV, Bio and Artist Statement. Since the main part of this section involves making contact with external professionals it seems a sensible time to get them ready before I need them – a very rare method of working for me – but it allows me to break the module into manageable chunks.

Taking the personal documents in order:

CV

The notes suggest that a CV should include

  • Your name and contact details
  • Website/blog
  • Education
  • Awards
  • Publications
  • Exhibitions
  • Work experience
  • Commissions
  • Charity work
  • Residencies
  • Teaching experience
  • Gallery experience
  • Assisting
  • Writing

When I was working in the real world my role as an IT consultant required that I had a CV ready at all times and this CV would be tweaked according to the requirements of the client. I had a library of sections or paragraphs that could be put together to emphasise particular experiences that might be of particular interest but I’m not sure how much of that would be of any interest to a curator or magazine picture editor. Nor am I sure how my education qualifications would hold any interest, after all, what use is a maths degree to a photographer?

As far as publications are concerned I’ve had images used by travel companies as full page spreads in the Guardian, Observer, Country Life, Amateur Photographer and Simple Things magazine as well as being the cover image for their brochures but those are for a specific  market. In my experience a CV needs to be targeted for the audience so I’m not sure that experience in that area would be relevant for obtaining exhibition space.

Also published was this image after it came second in a competition. It became my most copied image ever with over a thousand hits in Google at the time. Most of the hits were on blogs or it was being used as an avatar but a couple of sites were printing it onto mugs, place mats, towels etc!! By the time I found out both sites had already been closed down by other disgruntled photographers whose work had been pinched but it was an interesting learning experience.

The course notes suggest that we should include details of any prizes won or any images bought, both of which I can include but again, I’m not sure of the relevance to a CV.

Charity work is a possibility but the only relevant experience that I can conceive of is taking pictures while working on a cheetah conservation project in Namibia, again, not too relevant!

Perhaps a Bio will be easier!

Bio

Again the notes suggest

Some good questions to base your biography around could be:
• Where are you from? Has it influenced who you are today?
• How has your creative life evolved?
• What is your primary interest in life? What is important to you?
• What is your work about?
• What issues do you care about?
• What achievements are you proud of?
• What impression do you hope people will have of you in the first five minutes of meeting
you?
• How would you like to work with people/connect with them?

Although I have far less experience of writing a Bio this seems far more applicable to the way that I want to move forward in photography. Most of my CV details would be wasted in an arts environment but I can understand how it would be relevant for a curator to understand where I get my inspiration from or why I want to create a particular portfolio. In actual fact, answering some of the questions above is interesting for myself to understand where I’m going with this.

For example, I was brought up in North Wales, on the coast but with ready access to the wilds of Snowdonia so wildlife and the rugged countryside still resonate with me and drive my photography – or at least it would if I lived near rugged countryside ! As it is I have to make do with exploring my local area but looking at it in ways that a “typical” tourist might not.

I’ve been looking at a few examples of Bios on the websites of some photographers that have influenced or intrigued me so I’ll look at them in the next post

Gaz