Monday, 5 December 2011

Paris Photo

This year I finally made it to Paris Photo.  It coincides with my birthday so that's two good reasons to go to Paris if ever I needed any!  This is a brief post about my initial impressions.

Paris Photo is held in the Grand Palais which is worthy of a photograph or two itself.  It is a fantastic glass and steel structure dominated by a huge central dome.  The first thing that struck me was that, although there are curated sections, a large proportion of the exhibitors are independant galleries representing particular artists and selling a lot of older prints.  This was an opportunity to see first hand many famous prints that up to now I had only seen in books; Fox Talbot, Arbus, Cartier Bresson, Brassai and Kertesz to name just a few.  They were also all for sale if you felt like selling your house.  Seeing these first hand made me really appreciate them in a way that I had perhaps not done before when looking at a poor, scaled down reproduction in a book.

Some of the more contemporary photographers that stood out for me were Mikhael Subotzky, Yann Gross and Trine Sondergaard.

Liu Bolin's invisible man series is incredibly well executed and full of humour.  His ability to get the perspective and camera angle just right is quite brilliant.

Du Zhenjun's incredibly intricate and detailed collages facinated me; so much going on creating a surreal but coherent landscape.

Raphael Dallaporta's Antipersonnel series is a collection of images of antipersonnel mines isolated against a black background.  I'm not sure about this as it almost elevates the status of a mine as a thing of beauty.  The flip side is if this raises awareness of the vast number of mines in use.

My favorite picture was Kim In Sook's 'Saturday Night'.  This picture came together over a period of four years so the next time you're rushing something think about that.  From her series Saturday Night, Kim In Sook has constructed the fantasy of every voyeur: The curtains are wide open in all 66 windows of a hotel,  exposing the occupants as they go about their business.  It is a facinating picture that is so full of detail.  I felt that I couldn't leave until I'd checked out every room.  Maybe that says more about me but there was a constant crowd doing the same thing.  We are all nosey to a point.

There was a lot more going on including Acqua by Giorgio Armani which is 'an exploration of the theme of water in photographs', selections from the J P Morgan Chase art collection including such artists as Andy Warhol and Garry Winogrand and much more.

It was a lot to take in and a lot of walking but well worth it.  I look forward to next year!

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