ART PHOTO INDEX: An Interview with Founder and Director, Rixon Reed

Art Photo Index, Artist Close-up Page, Cristina De Middel

Art Photo Index, Artist's Page, Cristina De Middel

Art Photo Index, Artist Close-up Page, John Delaney

Art Photo Index, Artist's Page, John Delaney

Art Photo Index, Main Page

"...in a sense it’s really an Index of Indexes."

A new image database, Art Photo Index, was launched earlier this year created by Rixon Reed, Founder and Director of photo-eye Galleries and Bookstore. Art Photo Index (API) promises to make it easier to search and browse work by fine art and documentary photographers from around the world. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, photo-eye’s Gallery and Bookstore are filled with exquisite limited edition books, portfolios and exhibitions of contemporary photography.

Rixon Reed: I started developing Art Photo Index four years ago after finding it time-consuming to search for new artists to show on Photographer’s Showcase, our online gallery of emerging artists at photoeye.com. I spent way too much time visiting different websites hoping to find new work that was of interest. Searching Google Images was just inefficient, either it was too general in its findings, with irrelevant matches, or it retrieved popular, well-known images instead of work by emerging artists. It was not the discovery tool I was after.
I thought there’s got to be a better way; perhaps there should be a website that is pre-vetted, but on a grand scale, so that anybody who had a serious interest in art photography could go there, search and discover interesting contemporary work. I had the idea to create a website of artists already recognized by important organizations from through out the world.  
That started us down the road of compiling a list of artists to invite to become part of Art Photo Index. We let other organizations and publications do the vetting of the artists we include and invited winners of various competitions from Center’s Review Santa Fe, to Critical Mass 50, along with photographers published in Foam Magazine, Aperture, Camera Austria to name just a few. This allows us to maintain an extremely high level of quality throughout the site. We are constantly expanding the number of organizations and well-known galleries' rosters of artists and there's a section for each of the included organizations along with cross-referenced links to their artists' pages. So in a sense it’s really an index of indexes. The net effect is that we’ve created an ever-growing resource to help people discover exciting contemporary photography. 

Currently API includes over 16,000 images by 3000+ photographers from 88 countries. It includes a powerful search engine that uses over 21,000 keywords to help viewers discover work of interest. We feature a different artist each week and include artist profiles, projects and portfolios, bibliographies, contact information, website screenshots and a fantastic world map showing the city where each of the artists lives... 

API's Rixon Reed with Vicki Bohannon, photo-eye, 2013
Photograph © Elizabeth Paul Avedon

RR: I don't know what I would have done in terms of starting photo-eye without Vicki. She built the physical infrastructure for the business including (literally) the house we started photo-eye in. She is also the Gallery's Preparator, hanging each of the shows we do. Vicki is the hands-on person at photo-eye and is the love of my life.

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