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It Could be Time to Re-evaluate Your Artist Bio

How is your Artist bio?

Every Creative should have an artist bio on their website (if you don’t then create one!) Many do not know this, but an artist bio is one of the most important contents that you can have on your website! It gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself to whoever is viewing your site and offer them more information on your practice, personality, interests and achievements. Unfortunately, I have viewed websites where many Photographers have completely messed this up, simply because they did not know how to utilise making a solid first impression with their artist bio.

What is an artist bio?

An artist bio is a short paragraph either written in the first or third person that talks about YOU the artists. Many people confuse it with an artist statement which is slightly different as with a statement, it is about your art not about you. Here is a structure that can be followed when it comes to writing an artist bio:

Beginning: Who are you, where are you based, what got you into photography?

Middle: What themes do you focus on, what does your work centre around, why is what you do important?

End: What do you do when you are not on assignment, who have you shot for professionally/ where has your work been published or exhibited

Optional: Below your bio, you can have a list of all the places your work has been published or exhibited.

Your bio does not have to follow this structure exactly, but it should contain those contents. Let’s analyse one of our hypothetical characters artist bio:

Beginning: Sonnie James is a Visual Artist based in Namibia, with a particular interest in documenting culture, identity, and social change within Africa.

Middle: He is a photography consultant for Orange Media and has been commissioned to work for other organisations such as the Social Change Organisation, The Culture Trust, Aqua Media amongst others.

End: Sonnie is a member of the African Visual Artist Database and has attended the Boundary Photography Workshop in Kigali Rwanda and the Kanon Storytelling workshop in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. When not on assignment, Sonnie works on his long term project revolving around the use of Artificial Intelligence in Namibia

Mistakes to avoid:

There are certain mistakes that I have seen people make that I can’t help but laugh at (sorry!) the first big mistake to avoid is using terms such as ‘Sonnie takes compelling photos…’ who gave you such a title? It is better to leave such praises for people to give to you rather than for you to give to yourself. The second mistake that people make is being lazy and only typing a few sentences. Do not hesitate to go into details as for some people viewing your website, your bio is their first point of contact with you. Third of all, be professional! Remember that it is not just your friends viewing your website, industry professionals and a potential hirer will be looking at your bio as a means to find out a bit more about you and whether you are suitable for the job, so make a good first impression!

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