Welcome back to the Community Table: Agents in Conversation with Minneapolis Art Producers Part 4: Dessert

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Welcome to our 6th series of posts where we share the results from our conversations held directly with community leaders about top-of-mind photo-industry issues.  Community Table was formed from the collective efforts of Matt Nycz and Kate Chase of Brite Productions and Heather Elder and Lauranne Lospalluto of Heather Elder Represents with the idea that there is nothing more powerful in our industry than education.

L’Étoile du Nord is a French phrase meaning “The Star of the North”. It is also the motto of the US state of Minnesota.  It was chosen by the state’s first governor, Henry Hastings Sibley, and was adopted in 1861, three years after admission of Minnesota to the union.

And so it was that after year’s of projects and portfolio shows with many a Minnesotan, we bundled ourselves up and went to Minneapolis to host a Community Table for 7 of our industries “star” Art Producer’s.   And true to their motto, they were stars indeed, giving generously of their time and expertise to help us dig deeper around a subject that seems to be on everyone’s minds these days:   “The Art of the Portfolio Show”.

As a reminder, each Conversation Starter was directed to one person with a general discussion ensuing. Rather than sharing the entire conversation, we included the original question and then the quotes and notes that were most relevant.  Please note, often times the person leading the conversation spoke most often.

Minneapolis buyers in attendance:

Jenny Barnes/Content Producer, Carmichael Lynch

Kat Dalager/Director of Project Operations, Life Time Fitness

Christopher Grimes/Senior Integrated Producer, OLSON

Dave Lewis/Photography Production + Art Buying, Freelance

Mark Pakulski/Senior Integrated Art Producer, OLSON

Chris Peters/Senior Art Producer, Colle+McVoy

Jason Santos/Producer, Zeus Jones

So with that, we welcome you back to the table, and our 4th installment from this series.

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Question 5: What one word would you use to describe our industry?

Dave Lewis/Photography Producer + Art Buying, Freelance: Porous. I was thinking about that today while I was putting away a colander. I’m amazed at how much an email from a friend can lead me to another photographer and then to someone who designed their website which can link to a blog of a graphic designer. All this information comes through and it hits me and I populate it and it goes out to my sources and somebody grabs onto those. It turns into a stream of consciousness experience. It’s really cool.

Jenny Barnes/Content Producer, Carmichael Lynch: Ever-Changing.

Christopher Grimes/Senior integrated Art Producer, OLSON: Jeez. This is a hard one. There’s a ton of them but a lot of them are boring. I look at mine – Heather knows me well enough to know – I look at my day-to-day experience, I don’t know about the whole industry. I like going to work every day, I like my coworkers, I like you guys. I don’t go home at night and think about where is the industry going? I don’t have any control over that. It’s about going to work, having fun. Varied. That is my word. But love too. And fun. It’s too hard to say it in one word. My mind isn’t focused on the past and future. It’s focused on going to work each day and having the best day I can. It’s varied.

Jason Santos/Producer, Zeus Jones: It’s an unfair question. How about curious? That’s why we’re here, to be curious. Wait, I am not going with curious. Confused is better. Because people are not sure for all these reasons. It’s not a new thing in the industry. It’s kind of the nature of it. Maybe curious is a bit more positive than confused. Curious as to how best do this. Where am I going to shine the light this week? And find what we need next. New creative? I’m curious and I think a lot of people are. Ok, curious.

Kat Dalager/Director of Project Operations, Life Time Fitness: Evolving. It’s interesting because based on these conversations today, the Mad Men days are not far behind us. At the same time, it shifted from different forms and channels of medium. It becomes about content more than a channel. The evolution of that will be even more magnified in the next 5 years as different mediums change and the way that consumers use media changes. The fact that we’re going very digital and mobile will probably affect everything we do. And presenting portfolios, in 5 years, it might be on your phone and people will be able to interpret that. Remember when it was difficult to interpret what an iPad portfolio looked like. The evolution of technology and again throwbacks.

Chris Peters/Senior Art Producer, Colle+McVoy: I think it’s just changing faster than I thought it was going to change. No one’s talked about Instagram. I’ve hired more Instagram photographers this year – people are making their living shooting with iPhones. A lot is coming into the profession, bringing new ideas about doing things. Merging photography and video shoots has become a norm. Creatives are looking for different ways of expressing their client’s ideas. It’s not just “let’s make a print ad or do a billboard” It is, “Let’s have an experience.” It could be music, video, artwork. It’s just changing. I’m not always buying photography and illustration. I might be working on a multi-media piece or sculpture. It’s so different every day. I have to keep up on trends and what’s different and what’s hot.

Mark Pakulski/Senior Integrated Art Producer, OLSON: It’s adapt. Things are changing so much. Even in the last couple years we’ve changed our title. Now we’re integrated producers. So much on CPI and emulsion. Being able to navigate through that and figure out ways to make things work. And the trends too. I get that so much with creative. We want it to look like Instagram or off the cuff. It used to be more like movie or the sky. It’s being able to follow those AND stay ahead of them.

Heather Elder/Heather Elder Represents: I would say exciting. There are so many opportunities to be excited about. We may all do our own thing but I can be inspired and excited by the industry at any moment. It’s never dull and boring.

Kate Chase/Brite Productions: I will say Innovative.   That is all, for-now.

Tune in on Tuesday, March 3rd for the last installment, a helpful set of Portfolio Show guidelines for all our toolboxes.

And to see previous Community Tables posts from Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City and Chicago, go here: please link here.

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