Of Interest 5.30.11: 500 Photographers

500 Photographers, run by Rotterdam-based photographer Pieter Wisse, will post the work of 5 active photographers a week for 100 weeks. The weblog, started April 5th, 2010, accompanies an edit of images by the selected photographer with a short biography and summary of the work. The photographers can be from any discipline within the photographic range, with quality being the singular criteria for inclusion. The goal of the project is to develop a single-source database of great photographers. You can stay updated with Wisse and 500 Photographers on both Facebook and Twitter.

Wisse is also the owner of Four Eyes Photography & Art, a gallery and bookstore that publishes Four Eyes Photography Magazine and that recently published Wisse's own book, I Believe in 88. The 500 Photographers site offers Wisse's book for sale, as well as limited edition t-shirts and a donation button to help support Wisse continue his project.

Although many blogs and sites have run posts on the project, Wisse's own words on the project have been missing. Here they are:

500 Photographers started out as a project purely for myself. In the beginning of 2010 I came to the point where I asked myself where my photography should really be going. As I'm a firm believer that photographers who are consistent, persistent and make very clear choices in what they do are the one's that create something of value, I needed to make some choices for the future. One of the things I needed to do was to really start looking and learning from all the great photographers that I respect. As I'm really bad at remembering names, I decided to put them in a blog, add some photographs as an archive for myself in order to always be able to look back.

Within the first few weeks the world media started writing about the project and the amount of visitors grew and grew. This was a great surprise to me and to be honest, I never anticipated the popularity the website has generated. It adds another dimension to the website as it has put an extra weight on my shoulders in a positive way. Although time consuming, it is a pleasure to make and I try to keep the website to the highest quality possible for all the viewers and myself.

The choice to make the blog time-limited was made because this way I knew I would only have 500 spaces, which obliges me to get the absolute best of them on the blog. It forces me to do the best research possible in order not to miss those photographers that absolutely deserve to be on the weblog. I am sure that when the blog is finished I will find some amazing photographers that I regret not being on the blog, but I have to get that number down to the minimum. If I achieve that goal, I can honestly say that the archive I have build has value and importance to me.

500 Photographers has become close to a fulltime job with no income. However 3/5th down the road I've learned so much on various levels. The starting point was to learn and grow as a photographer and even though currently I have little time to photograph, I've grown a lot. At the same time I've learned about many other facets within the photographic world. 500 Photographers has been one of the best choices I’ve made.