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Howie's artist statement


I thought long and hard about whether or not to write an artist's statement for this website. After all, how pretentious can you get! Surely, pressing the shutter release on a camera is hardly what most people would call art!

Then I thought some more about the nature of art, about who I am, what motivates and inspires me, and I came to the conclusion that - YES - writing an artist statement as an amateur photographer is not only a valid thing to do, but an essential one in terms of defining why I do what I do. After all, why do any of us strive to seek out beautiful places and try and bring the emotions we felt at the time to a viewing audience through the medium of a photograph?

Woodland path, Loggerheads, North Wales

So not only am I going to write my artist statement, but I would encourage anyone involved in any artistic endeavour whatsoever to have a go as well. Doing so really makes you think what it's all about!

So who am I anyway?

If you were to pick someone who you thought had the least amount of 'artistic soul' in them, you would pick me!

On the surface I'm an extremely 'left brain' sort of person. All my schooling, training, education and work experience has been based around maths, science and engineering. I can't draw without a ruler, I can't paint (even painting by numbers defeats me!), I can't sing or play any kind of musical instrument and I can barely do joined up writing! So what hope have I of ever creating anything artistic? Well, despite all the life training to the contrary, the right side of my brain (the artistic, creative side) is still alive and kicking, sending me promptings and urgings to seek out beautiful experiences and to somehow create something tangible that represents what I've experienced.

As a Christian, I believe I'm made in the image of the creator God, and, as such, have some of His creative DNA in my nature. Hence the right brain stuff that keeps cropping up despite my upbringing's best attempts to suppress it!

So who am I? I'm just an ordinary guy who has the urge to seek out the beauty in God's world and to create art in the only medium that brings satisfaction to both sides of my brain - photography!

What inspires me?

Stand two people on a windy mountaintop in the snow and one will whoop with delight at the joy of being there, while the other will be moaning and looking for the cafe!

Snowdon in winter, North Wales

I'm definitely in the 'whoop with delight' category on this one! Nothing inspires me more as a photographer and artist than to be outdoors and on the edge of something. I'm talking about the edge of light, when the sky goes through a myriad colour changes over a half hour period at twilight, or the edge of weather as a storm front passes over, or the edge of a season as the foliage changes from one state to another, or the edge of the land where the restless sea either caresses or hammers the unyielding coast.

I can take technically proficient photos of still lifes, people, buildings, even weddings (shudder!), but all they are is a record of what was happening at the time. Inspiration for me happens when I'm outdoors, being part of some unfolding drama in the landscape. It's at times like that when art happens and a part of me gets added to the image I'm trying to create. After all, anything that we call art, in whatever medium it's expressed, has to have some part of the artist's soul and emotion in it or it's just a dead work.

A simple statement

I've realised I got quite carried away in that last bit! So how to summarise my position as an artist, working in the medium of photography.

What I'm trying to do is bring a part of myself into the media/images I create, to try and express in a simple 2D medium the joy, awe, delight and sometimes sorrow that I experienced at the frozen moment in time when I pressed the camera shutter, recognising that, in all my photographic endeavours, I'm simply fulfilling that part of my nature that reflects the creator God who made me in His image.