Under looming greys, Paris, the city of lights, flickered even brighter with a spotlight on its annual fete–The Month of Photography. From the 15-18 of November, the landscape was transformed. This remarkable tourist venue became a destination designed “en exclusivité” for photographers, where the amateur as well as the pro, gallerists, curators, collectors and whole community of creatives could engage in dialogues about the “fluidity and impurity of the photographic medium.” And it didn’t disappoint. Museums and galleries from the right to the left (bank that is) were positioned to present important works, both analog and those adopting highly advanced photographic techniques. Of note, the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Centre Cultural de Chine, Centre Pompidou, Foundation, Cartier Pour L’Art Contemporain, Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian, Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Christie’s Paris, and Sotheby’s France were part of what became an extraordinary learning center.
Offerings of champagne and culinary delights were on the menu as VIP’s hosted soirees for prospective buyers. The center of this yearly event, Paris Photo 2012–the crème de la crème of photo fairs was housed in The Grand Palais–a magnificent Beaux-Arts monument, “dedicated by the Republic to the glory of French art.” Now celebrating 18, Paris Photo has, for the past 2 years, retained the Palais’ original purpose–to house the great artistic events of the city of Paris. And, while still boasting over its 50,000 attendees in 2011, this year’s expo held court to 128 French and International galleries, and introduced 23 photography publishers and booksellers, invited for the 4-day fete to one of the finest expositions in praise of photography.
This year marked the launch of Paris Photo vu par David Lynch (Paris Photo seen by…), a soft cover publication featuring approximately100 images curated by the visionary image-maker. The book highlights the photographs that Lynch praised as his favorites. It was seen as a personal companion to experience the show as well as a keepsake reference. The tradition will continue with extraordinary talent presenting their selections in future editions of the Paris Photo. www.shop.parisphoto.fr
Sponsored by the event’s official partners Giorgio Armani, and JP Morgan, three international institutions were invited to showcase their recent photographic acquisitions. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presented “Face to Face” with outstanding self-portraits from legendary artists the likes of Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, Man Ray and William Wegman. Huis Marseille Museum’s exhibition “Doubling Presence” was an exploration into the art of multiplication in imagery and included the works of Koos Breukel, Anton Corbijn and Hellen Van Meene. And Fotomuseum Winterthur’s “Cut and Paste”, curated for the expo, offered the works of Hans-Peter Feldmann, Thomas Galler, Sherrie Levine, among others.
Paris Photo Platform
Created in association with the Luma Foundation and directed by Roxanna Marcoco, Curator of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), this 4-day event was structured for critical exchanges, performances and interactions. These debates and presentations were hosted by a selection of leading artists and scholars such as Taryn Simon, Rem Koolhas, and David Lynch.
SFR Jeune Talents – The 2012 Laureates
The 6th juried photo competition celebration of young emerging artists, and an exhibition of the winning talent’s work. Other highlights of the fair included, Private Collection with “Collected Shadows” from the London based Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC)–a stunning exhibition of works of Gustave Le Gray, Robert Frank, Bertha Jacques, Josef Sudek and Bruce Gilden, among them. Assembled and curated by Timothy Prus, the show was fascinating mix of imagery that displayed all styles and periods of the medium. The Official Partners Exhibition featured, “Spectacular Vernacular”–a showing of 32 photographs from the internationally renowned JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, and Giorgio Armani’s “Aqua 2” previewed a new selection of works based on the theme of water. The Open Book Exhibition presented “Bernd and Hilla Becher – In Prints 1964-2012”, viewed as an historical reading of the couple, it used only printed material including reviews, museum catalogues, posters, and brochures. And BMW Art and Culture sponsored its young artist in residence program presenting “Ici, Par-Dela Les Brumes”, honoring Alexandra Catiere and her award-winning images.
The launch of the juried Paris Photo – Aperature Foundation PhotoBook Awards presented “The First Photobook”, and “The Photobook of the Year Awards” while the New Galleries Projects premiered Solo/Duo and Group shows. The Book Signing Program rounded out the major events at this year’s expo.
After days perusing the likes of Gagosian, Paris; Howard Greenberg; New York, Magnum, Paris; Stevenson, Cape Town; and Yossi Milo, New York, I am struck by the magnitude of possibilities open to all interested in elevating skills and engaging in an extensive network of dialogues. The expo experience is priceless. All photographers, no matter what level, must seek out these venues as well as other photo-related opportunities. Get connected, as these events will alter your ideas on what is possible, change the way you look at photography, and add new dimensions to your work. Finding what is relevant and marketable in an ever-expanding photographic climate is key.
Last but not least, it’s official. Paris Photo Director Julien Frydman has announced the first US Edition of Paris Photo to be held this side of the Atlantic in Los Angeles at the Paramount Pictures studios–25-26 April 2013. Log on, as details are in the works.
For further information: www.parisphoto.com
Images – copyright Renay E. Morris 2012