There’s nothing wrong with using a boilerplate bio to summarize who you are and what you do. But there’s also nothing inspiring or memorable about that approach. When an artist or photographer commissions me to write their bio, I interview them, research them online, and brainstorm with them about who the text is meant to resonate with and the key points and language to include. The goal is to make it easy for the reader to tell other people about you, and to say something compelling enough that they'll want to.
Below, two samples of my work:
BIO: STEPHEN MALLON, INDUSTRIAL PHOTOGRAPHER
Most people look at work sites and machinery and see nothing more than concrete and steel. Stephen Mallon looks at them and sees both a surreal beauty and the wonder of their engineering. He is an industrial photographer not just by profession but also by nature. Even as a teenager in North Carolina, long before he formally studied photography, Mallon would go to airports, rail yards, and construction sites and take pictures. In the years since, he has traveled everywhere from Africa to New Jersey, searching out artificial landscapes and industrial footprints. His work has been exhibited widely, and he has been commissioned by a wide range of commercial clients, including Publicis, Sudler & Hennessey, AECOM, and AARP.
Most recently, Mallon made a big splash with his stunning “Brace for Impact: The Salvage of Flight 1549,” a series of photographs documenting the salvaging of the US Air flight that, amazingly, airline captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger had managed to safely emergency-land in the Hudson River in on January 15, 2009. The images Mallon produced during the two-week effort by maritime contractor Weeks Marine have since been exhibited in New York and featured at numerous websites, in print, and on TV, including Wired.com, New York magazine, NBC, Resource magazine, Vanity Fair, and CBS News. In the summer of 2010, “Brace for Impact: The Salvage of Flight 1549” will be exhibited at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Mallon, whose photos have been honored by Communication Arts, the New York Photo Festival, and the Lucie Awards, is also a leader in the photo community. Since 2002, he has been a board member of the New York chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers and served as president from 2006 to 2009. He lives in New York with his wife and their young daughter.
ARTIST STATEMENT: MICHAEL EUDY
For the past few years, my work has exclusively taken the form of visual palindromes, or mirror images, that contain a multitude of methodologies and visual languages within the space of a single picture. Thick, built-up passages are set in opposition to areas of erasure and excavation. A naturalistic depiction faces off against an abstract one. Refinement and precision keep company with the raw and tactile. Strictly speaking, the content of each side of the mirror image is the same. But it’s never identical.
I find that I relish reinterpreting my subject matter within the confines of the canvas, because my work deals in part with process and the physical act of painting. It’s just as exciting, though, to go through the mental exercise of reinterpretation: to identify how I define, for example, a table, and to consider the possibilities if I were to comprehend that table in a completely different way. I think there are broader applications for this approach. As they get older and their identities harden, most people stop questioning their beliefs, their inclinations, their desires. In my work, at least, I do not allow myself that luxury.
It took me a long time to arrive at palindromes as a framework for my ideas, and it was a critical process. I had always worked as a sort of serial painter of series. While I was in Rome for my final year of graduate school, for example, I experimented with Italian kitsch painting and a sci-fi-inspired theme of space and time. The year prior to that, I was immersed in exploring the boundary and similarities between high and low art. I also explored image appropriation along the lines of Richard Prince. I was creating bodies of work based on a single conceptual model, progressing from series to series, with each discovery leading me to pursue new but related questions. As my ideas became more distilled, I began to combine multiple concepts into one painting. And as I did so, I saw a single theme emerge: the juxtaposition of opposites (or apparent opposites). Thus, my palindromes were born.
Though I am satisfied with this framework, I remain restlessly in search of answers to the eternal questions of what constitutes high art versus low art, good versus bad, beauty versus the ugly. I realize that it’s impossible to find absolute answers, but I speak from personal experience when I say that it’s possible to discover a great deal about the world, and yourself, if you at least embark on the quest.