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Artography is not a ‘real’ word, meaning you could not use it in a Scrabble game. However, I define artography in the following ways:

1. The combination of art + photography, whereby photography is used in a creative manner to explore and capture aspects of an image/art work
that would not necessarily be a part of the finished ‘product.’

2. A creatively photographic exploration and documentation of process. ie. Watching paint dry and taking pictures of it.

3. A play on the word ‘cartography’; whereby a piece of art becomes like a map or terrain to be explored via the camera lens from as many different angles as the imagination can conceive of. It effectively allows what is presented as a 2D image to be embraced for the 3D object that it is.

4. The use of photography to make one painting or drawing into a potentially infinite number of them by working with the micro and macro,
and by appreciating each inch of an art work a work of art unto itself.

5. The abstraction of imagery via techniques of re-framing.

6. The documented observation of how the environment (especially light, shadows, rainbows etc) that surround the art
collaborates with the images we view, altering our perceptions of the art over time.

There is also an academic practice called a/r/tography being taught and practiced at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.


“To be engaged in the practice of a/r/tography means to inquire in the world through an ongoing process of art making in any artform and writing not separate or illustrative of each other but interconnected and woven through each other to create additional and/or enhanced meanings. A/r/tographical work are often rendered through the methodological concepts of contiguity, living inquiry, openings, metaphor/metonymy, reverberations and excess which are enacted and presented/performed when a relational aesthetic inquiry condition is envisioned as embodied understandings and exchanges between art and text, and between and among the broadly conceived identities of artist/researcher/teacher. A/r/tography is inherently about self as artist/researcher/teacher yet it is also social when groups or communities of a/r/tographers come together to engage in shared inquiries, act as critical friends, articulate an evolution of research questions, and present their collective evocative/provocative works to others.” -Rita L. Irwin





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