Sunday, 20 November 2011

Paris Photo

Photography has become a daily occurrence. Sadly, most of it is digital. People have gotten used to the idea of seeing images on a screen. I completely and utterly dislike that. There is a reason for printing images. There is a reason for seeing them in properly lit galleries, archival inkjet printed on Hahnemuhle paper or proper Ilford. Thus you learn to appreciate what a photograph is, beyond the pixels of a monitor. The touch of a satin fiber base print, the physical manifestation of a past event. Seeing it on a computer deprives the photograph of it's weight and depth...

I made a habit out of having some constant events. Some have Christmas. I have Paris Photo. Not sure if it's indeed the biggest event in Europe, but it counts among them for sure.

I went to see it during my university years, and I've continued afterwards. It's there that i first saw most of the legendary images I've only read about throughout the years. Irving Penn, Edward Burtynsky, Andreas Gursky (who's recently just broken all previous price records for a sold image at an auction, taking $4.3m for the "Rhein II"). More than that, I saw people I've researched, like the Starn Brothers, Mary Alpern and so on. In my view, this keeps me anchored into the international ways of the art, good quality print, trends and more.

This year, for the first time since i've been going, the venue has changed. Maybe for the better, i can't be sure just yet. I've always gone to the Carrousel. I silently complained every year about the queue for the entrance. Then i went to the 2011 edition, at the Grand Palais. I saw a sign saying "you are now one hour and 30 minutes from entering the gallery". It was also the first time i gave up queuing for a show i liked, because the 1:30 mark was about 1 hour away. I saw the show in the last day possible, going in the early hours in the morning. Neat.

Now, every year, there are things that are shown, that have been on my "want to see this" list. This year, was the NASA Rare Prints edition. I also saw one of the Hasselblad Masters finalists, in a show by one particular galleries. To be noted also was the initiative of private collectors exhibiting in a separate part of the space with the sole purpose of promoting young and upcoming photographers. There's more. So much more.

The show is designed to bring together an incredible amount of information which is photography related. Magazines, shows, collages, historical imagery, fashion documentary, etc. In order to explain all of this, i would need to write a booklet. But i won't. Basically, if anyone doing photography really wants to get a breath of fresh air, image wise, November 2012 should be on your calendar.