The above image is a teaser: a tiny detail of one of the amazing photographs on view at Burrard Arts Foundation by Birthe Piontek. Want to see the full image? Join Birthe and me this Saturday, March 9, 1pm at Burrard Arts Foundation!

I can’t say it enough: it’s really valuable for emerging artists like yourselves to meet an established, working artist, and learn what it takes to become professional. I hope to see you there! Now, I’ll start this week’s post with a question:


It’s a basic question, but one that sometimes requires a thoughtful answer. What is your image trying to do?

All artwork has meaning. That’s what makes it so powerful, universal, and sometimes controversial. Artists try to convey messages, work through their own ideas, or portray emotion in their works. What an artist makes, or how she works, depends on that person’s own interests and views.

We’ve asked you to think about what you’re photographing, and how you’re going to work close to the lens to make sure your photograph is more than just an easy, ordinary picture. So as you go about responding to this year’s Chester Fields challenge, ask yourself: what excites you?

Why are you photographing that particular subject? Why are you enhancing or disrupting your shot with that specific material? And if you created a really cool image by chance or by fluke – take a step back, and think about what your image could mean or represent. Sometimes the message emerges afterward, and that’s okay!

All this to say: be aware that when you show an image, you’re also communicating a message. So take control of what that message is, and make it something that matters to you.

When writing your artist statements, think about these three questions: 1) What are we looking at in your photo? 2) Why are you showing us this? And 3) how does it relate to the theme of “Something In My Eye”?