On Tuesdays, we watch talks or interviews with artists and designers and discuss how to present our work clearly and with confidence. This week we’ll see an interview with documentary photographer Lynn Johnson.

As you watch this interview, consider these questions: Does the artist speak clearly and with confidence? Does she use gestures and intonation to emphasize her points? Does she smile and look at the camera? Does she use professional vocabulary?

What does Johnson do well? She speaks very confidently. In fact, I would say she’s almost intimidating in the way she speaks. She looks right at the camera and speaks with intensity and passion about her work. Her speed and volume are good, and she is easy to understand. Her posture is confident and she gestures in small ways to emphasize her points. The feeling I get when I watch this interview is that this is a serious artist with a mission to change the world. I would not mess with her, which means I would not want to make her angry at me.

What could she improve? This is a more difficult question to answer. Usually, for an interview like this, I would suggest that the speaker should smile, use more vocal variety, and gesture more to be engaging and keep the attention of the audience. However, I think this artist keeps our attention in her own way by the intensity of her eyes and by talking about serious topics. These things might make some people uncomfortable, but sometimes that’s the reason for making art. Sometimes the way you present yourself needs to match the tone, or feeling, of your work.

What professional vocabulary does she use? She begins by talking about how she got started as a newspaper photographer and had to prove herself because most of her colleagues were men. She talks about the power of outrage to inspire and motivate artists because there is so much injustice in the world. Next, she talks about her work in general, and how she prefers long-form or documentary work about people.

After that, she describes a grant she worked on for Ripple Effect Images to help women and children at risk in the world. She gives examples of the work she has done with this grant money by taking pictures of healthcare workers in Cambodia who help people with serious illnesses. The photos and videos become part of a bank of images that is available to other non-profit organizations that help women and children all over the world. Finally, she describes her process and what she likes about her work. She wants the people that see her photographs to be there with her and that her photographs are like a miniature, or small, bridge to help people connect.

Just like artists can have different styles and goals for their work, speeches and interviews can too. Sometimes you may not want to have a fun, friendly tone when you speak. You may want to be serious or intimidating like our speaker today. A good language coach can help you to find the correct words and style of speaking to match your goals, so you get your message to your audience in the best way possible.

At Artglish, we help artists and designers to speak confidently about their work. We coach you to speak professionally using the best vocabulary and correct pronunciation. If you want to learn more, click here to join The Studio and try some free ways to improve your English, or check out our Lessons page to learn how Artglish can help you succeed.
I’ve chosen 5 words or phrases for you to focus on today. They are in bold. If you don’t know them, look up the meaning, synonyms, antonyms, and other forms of these words. You can find links to Merriam-Webster dictionary sites at the bottom of this page.

To see the original video, posted by DPReview on April 10, 2018, click the link below:

To learn more about Ripple Effect Images, click the link below: