A Commissioned Artist Must Tell Your Story: Analog Pet Photography
When I talk to my clients about the superior archival quality of analog photography, I use words like 'forever,' 'meeting Museum of Congress standards,' 'archival wash' etc. I won't go so far as to say their eyes glaze over when I begin getting a bit technical, because these preliminary discussions I have with each client are incredibly engaging and fun. But- there needs to be a balance of education and inspiration. In order to sway gently between the worlds of technical craft and the warm, emotive language of the dog/human bond- I immediately relate this imporant theme of "archival standards" to the universal theme of "stories." And BAM! That's when my clients are literally on the edge of their seats, leaning over my portfolio with me, waiting for the moment when I begin telling their story.
Because the role of a commissioned artist is to be a storyteller, and an expert in their medium. A commissioned artist should not create work that their clients can do on their own. It must be multi-dimensional, it must be inspired, there must be a spark that makes their work stand out in an incredibly obvious way. It's not the tools they use, or where they went to school, or who they've worked for in the past. It is simply in the quality and depth of the work they produce. If you are going to commission an artist- you must expect nothing less than perfection. And you must expect that artist to be able to echo your own emotions and unique story within the work they produce. This is truly my favorite part.
Crafting my images by hand allows me to work slowly, efficiently, and intentionally- infusing a line of story through each roll of film. As I photograph, I am constantly interacting with my clients and their animals. Sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly. There is an eb and flow to the process, but always stories are being told, stories are being recorded, and stories are being created within the moment.
At the end of our project, I install those stories on the wall to be enjoyed for hundreds of years. To be passed down through generations, like all fine art pieces should be. The value of a large art investment has nothing to do with the present- it has to do with the stories it will keep alive within families, and the timelesness and beauty of a handcrafted aritisanal piece.