Cat Jimenez is the Executive Director of the Lucie Foundation, Executive
Producer of the Lucie Awards and Co-Founder of the Month of Photography
Los Angeles. She studied photography at the Art Center College of
Design, in Pasadena, California and was recently featured in the
Smithsonian Institute and The Los Angeles Filipino American Centennial
Commemoration Committee Project entitled “I am Today’s
Filipino”, recognizing and preserving the stories of individuals
making a contribution to American life.
THE LUCIES: CAT JIMENEZ
by Jen Harlen, Oct. 22, 2013
we sit down with the Lucie Foundation’s executive director
Cat Jimenez to talk about the 2013 honorees, what goes into the
big night and how a bunch of photographers get to Carnegie Hall.
How did the Lucie Awards come about?
In 2003, Hossein Farmani, an entrepreneur and visionary, wanted
photographers to be celebrated in a way that brought them out from
behind the lens and into the spotlight. Hossein organized an Advisory
Board of players that would be responsible for nominating deserving
individuals annually. The Lucies were created as an opportunity
for master practitioners of the craft to gather together in celebration
of their commitment to the field. The Lucies are truly the highest
form of peer recognition in the photography community.
How long have you been involved with the awards?
I volunteered for The Lucies in 2003, and then again in 2004. I
joined the staff in 2005. And they haven’t been able to get
rid of me, since. Thankfully.
What do you see as the purpose or mission of the awards?
To acknowledge some of the most important voices in the medium.
To organize a vast record of the movers and shakers in the industry,
from organizations, large and small, to the heroes and heroines
of our community. I find this work to be incredibly rewarding, and
since we’ve grown from the awards program into the Lucie Foundation,
I’m constantly interacting with the medium, year round, through
a variety of platforms. We wouldn’t exist without the support
of photographers and our sister-effort, The International Photography
Awards. There is a reciprocity to the work we do. We are supported
by photographers and we exist to support and champion photography.
Why is it important to honor leaders in the field of photography?
They are the beacons, they represent history, and they have paved
the way. They have shared their unique vision with us and we owe
them a debt of gratitude for their long-term commitment to contemporary
photography. These leaders have a singular vision, and for that
we must recognize and celebrate their work, and their contributions.
How do you think the global photography scene has changed in the
eleven years since the awards were started?
One word: technology. The way we see, experience and share photography
has changed exponentially since 2003. I find that technology makes
the printed matter even more precious and special. And, on the other
hand, the immediacy that technology offers is incomparable.
How would you describe this year’s slate of honorees?
Diverse, infinitely inspiring and fierce. Each of this year’s
honorees are ground-breaking, risk-takers. From Lisa Kristine, who
travelled the globe for years to document the face of modern-day
slavery, to Benedikt Taschen‘s imagination when printing Helmut
Newton’s SUMO. Both Minkkinen and White are passionate educators,
whose impact on the future generation of image-makers is definitely
inestimable. Li Zhensheng‘s documentation of the Chinese Revolution
is exceptionally noteworthy, and has received very little fanfare
in the United States. Victor Skrebneski is a true original and an
artist in the finest sense. His darkroom process can certainly be
attributed to his background studying painting and sculptural. I
also feel like Victor hasn’t received the credit he deserves
as a fashion and portrait photographer in the US. Broadly speaking,
this year’s honorees (aside from Taschen because of his notoriety
+ publishing fame) share something in common: They are all quite
humble. They have focused on their work, and in some cases, sharing
their knowledge through education, rather than being motivated by
eminence. I’m deeply proud to pay tribute to these individuals;
they should be known in the canons of photography.
The winners of the International Photography Awards will be presented
in conjunction with the Lucie Awards. How do these two sets of honors
complement each other?
It’s a beautiful balance (and treat) for the audience to see
a diverse range of photography, from the ICONIC imagery of the Honorees’
work, to the current, winning pictures from the IPA competition,
which represents a global community. I hope there is some mutual
inspiration happening between the Lucie Honorees and the IPA Finalists.
It’s a nod to the incredible work that we’ve been seeing
for decades, and it’s a chance to see what’s happening
Why did you decide to move the ceremony back to New York, and
to Carnegie Hall, this year? How do you think the esteemed venue
will shape this year’s event?
The Lucies started in Los Angeles, in 2003. For the 10th Anniversary
we had to come back “home,” knowing that we’d
always return to New York. Moving to a venue like Carnegie Hall
adds another level of excitement for us, our honorees and attendees.
We co-opted the famous Carnegie Hall joke: How do you get to Carnegie
Hall? Our response: Focus. Focus. Focus.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s ceremony?
What makes this evening special?
There are many elements of the show that keep me inspired. My favorite
is meeting the honorees after working for months with them, or their
people. I love seeing everyone dressed to the nines in honor of
photography. The speeches can be quite poetic. I think there is
tremendous power in acknowledgement. In general, people want to
be seen. This is our way of saying, “We see you.” There
is a true spirit of community at The Lucies. And we do this for
the photography community, inclusive of everyone passionate about
the craft. The Lucies are about access—to community, to your
heroes and mentors, to your inspiration, to a path that reveals
why you chose photography (that’s very personal and individualistic).
It’s a magical evening. I hope that people leave feeling moved
and inspired to do their best work (whatever field that may be).
CAT JIMENEZ Month of Photography Los Angeles
Cat Jimenez is Co-Founder of the Month of Photography Los Angeles,
Executive Director of the Lucie Foundation, and a photographer.
She studied photography at the Art Center College of Design, in
Pasadena, California and was featured in the Smithsonian Institute
and The Los Angeles Filipino American Centennial Commemoration Committee
Project entitled “I am Today’s Filipino”, recognizing
and preserving the stories of individuals making a contribution
to American Life.
- present Lucie Foundation Director
2006, 25th Anniversary juried competition and Kodak sponsor book
Women In Photography International ""Members of Tatak
Ng Apat Na Alon Tribe" 2003"
2005, "Beauty" Women In Photography In'l Photojournalism
category juried competition, “Philippines 1”
2003, Photo LA, Women In Photograrphy International, “Stephanie”
2002, WIPI Archive 12, feature article and photos T-Zone,
2002, T-Zone Tyra Banks is Helping to Build A Better Future For
Girls Through Teamwork, Communication and Trust, project photographer
In Photography International Charter Member
Los Angeles, CA
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