Just returned from a full-on photographic weekend in the French capital, of which the highlight was no doubt, the visit to Paris Photo, the annual collection of the world’s best galleries displaying their wares.
It’s been at least 5 years since my last visit, and this was, in my humble opinion and in accordance with my tastes, an improvement on that previous show. A return to a more humanistic approach, with much traditional black and white work presented, and a move away from over-sized, over-coloured conceptual imagery.
On the other hand, one thing definitely hasn’t changed: Paris Photo remains an event where the trendy art crowd like to be seen, so plenty of slightly eccentric glamour on display. It also appears to be ” de rigueur” to have the latest Leica offering dangling effortlessly round one’s neck in a manner of candid ostentation.
Though I spent nearly eight hours wandering round, it’s never enough to fully cover the occasion in one go. A plethora of galleries and exhibition spaces to visit, a vast photobook space to peruse with special signings on offer, a range of conferences & talks to attend. I always enjoy making one new discovery, often of well-established photographers, less-known to the wider public. Last time it was the Hungarian Ferenc Berko, and this year it was the German (my semi-namesake !) Timm Rautert, not least his 1967 book about Josef Sudek.
Above all, Paris Photo is also an occasion to catch up with all those photographer friends and acquaintances whom one doesn’t get to see that often during the busier working months of the year. A chance to share one’s passion and exchange opinions, within a wonderful environment. For the Grand Palais really epitomises the majestic beauty of Parisian architecture. And when the sun shines, as it did last Friday, the wonderful light streaming through the glass domed roof, elevates the visual experience to another level.
So not only was I caught up in admiring the images , I couldn’t resist the street- photographer urge to people-watch, and capture a bit of the show, within the show. Below is a record of those moments, which for the most part are centred around portrait photography. For while I have an affinity for many photographic idioms, whether they be documentary, abstract or landscape, if one day I were to attend Paris Photo as a prospective buyer/collector, I’m convinced it would be a face that I would most like to hang on my wall. Given that Hamilton’s were quoting 600 thousand dollars for an Avedon, I may still have several years to wait !