The Art Producers Photographer List, Now Online

- - Art Producer

For the past year Art Producer Jenny Barnes has been cataloging her favorite photographers on her posterous site (blog) http://jenren.com. A reader sent it to me recently and I immediately wanted to post it, because I knew other AB’s, PE’s, AD’s etc. would not only find it useful, but possibly they would be inspired to start their own. I’m surprised more of these don’t exist, blogs make it easy to categorize and find things. I decided to ask Jenny a couple questions about it.

APE: Tell me a little bit about yourself?
Jennifer: I hold a BFA in media arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and have also studied graphic design. I worked for many years in the commercial photography industry and later moved agency side. I currently work full-time at an advertising agency as an art producer. I live outside Minneapolis with my husband, three kids and two dogs.

Tell me why you started the project?
Research is my favorite part of working as an art producer. There are so many talented artists and when the right job comes up, I want to be able to find them. Over the years I focused on bookmarks, printed promos, picture archives and then a database that held pictures. The database was too big and kept crashing, so I had to delete the images. This is the best system I can pull together at this time to keep track of the artists. The categories and the quick view into the artist portfolio work pretty well. Now, I just need to keep adding artist’s work to the site.

Talk to me about categorizing photographers, how important is it that
 you can find a category for someone so you can recall them later?
Categories are extremely important. They are a quick way to organize a large body of work and a large number of artists. It’s subjective and not an exact science. Having the artist defined in a category helps to find them when a looking to hire an artist for assignment. Without categories, I’d never be able to sort through the thousands of artists in my database.

I’m also curious about the format. A lot of effort goes into logos,
color palette and design for photographers websites, but you’ve
completely stripped them down to just pictures. Is there a reason for 
this?
That’s a fantastic question. I’ve never thought about it from that perspective. You’re right, the choices made regarding a company logo; the look and function of the artist’s site are major considerations. The decisions made ultimately reflect upon the work which can have a positive, neutral or a negative impact on the imagery.

When looking for talent, a buyer can review hundreds of websites. All the differences can be exhausting. Not only are you processing the images, you are also trying to extract them from the context in order to evaluate the work. In the end the images need to be the focus.

What I have learned while working on the site is how nice it is to see the subtleties when the images stand alone. Having a similar format for each post is comfortable. I hope visitors to the site feel the same.

What’s the ultimate goal with the site?
To create a space dedicated to inspiring work. Over time, I hope to build a useful research tool where buyers and artists can find inspiration.

There Are 16 Comments On This Article.

  1. This is RAD. What a great way to keep track of all the photographers that I want to keep in mind for assignments! My bookmarks folder is just a giant list and so disorganized, and I rarely remember what the person shoots or where they are located just by looking at their name. Now to hire an intern to make this for me, hahaha.

  2. first, let me say that i really like this and the effort Jenny’s put into this, and also as a photographer it is so great to hear that art producers CARE! …

    negative: a search feature would be nice … beautiful site but such basic navigation…

    NONETHELESS: thanks to both of you for sharing/making this resource

  3. Yes, great source of inspiration. I’ve noticed with only a few exceptions that a photographer/illustrator drops into a single category. Some of the notable exceptions include Nadav Kander who is under still life, landscape and celebrity and portrait, each with their own edit of selects. Nice, thanks Jenn!

  4. Andrea Mariash

    I’m pretty much Jenny’s biggest fan in the world. She’s an incredible art producer and person. This q&a describes her process in creating jenren, but I think that she modestly downplays the curatorial aspect of the site. I can’t stress enough that Jenny’s innate taste level and sophisticated eye make this resource much more than a categorial parking lot for visual artists. (I’ve seen Jenny’s bookmark list. It’s enormous and this site is just the tip of that iceberg.) Knowing Jenny personally makes this site so valuable to me; when she features an artist in any way, they become that much more attractive to me as an art buyer. Included photographers should feel honored that they made her edit!

  5. I took a cruise through the site, I like the simplicity and how it IS stripped down to just the photography. It is like being able to compare notes with a colleague. It really is an amazing resource for everyone. This is going on my iGoogle home page.

  6. I was lucky enough to meet Jenny this summer and show her my book and what a pleasure it was! Speaking with her I could tell that she really does care about photography and this site shows that! Great work Jenny!

  7. I did the same with my blog. Tumblr and FFFound drive me insane when it comes to crediting artists, or lack thereof. I’m a true believer in giving credit where it’s due.

  8. I was in MN two years ago, met her at the agency and I asked Jenny if she kept promos or what she looked at and how she organized her contacts. She told me then that she was building a database. She said she looked at promos and then tossed them out once she had the photographer’s info recorded.

    She is a lovely person, as are many of the AB’s in MN.

  9. Biased as I am about my daughter Jenny, I had to comment about all the hard work and editing that has gone into her project. Jenny is no stranger to hard work…

  10. it’s a great site and a great resource, i’m honored to have been included. jenny is as thoughtful as she is hardworking and as thorough as she is kind.