A review of The Glamorous Art Photography Fair Paris Photo 2012

Since its explosion onto the arts scene back in 1997, it has become the biggest, the grandest most glamorous and therefore the best (not to mention first) art photography fair in the world. It is: Paris Photo.

2012 saw the three day Paris Photo fair taking place for its second year in the beautiful setting of the Grand Palais…  and the event has come a long, long way from its beginnings fifteen years ago, now incorporating photographic works from more than 137 international galleries and attracting a staggering 55,000 visitors.

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” – Ansel Adams

As the years have passed, the artistic reputation of Paris Photo has escalated beyond all expectation and now even once-elusive and exclusive photographers are taking part in what can only be described as the photographic event of the year.

So who is Paris Photo for? Undoubtedly for buyers and collectors of contemporary and modern art, photography professionals, artists etc…  but equally importantly, it is for any lover of art, anyone who appreciates photography, even just to snap away at the city sights,  and mostly, for anyone who is simply curious.

Genres such as documentary, fashion and commercial, from vintage and historical to present day work are all exhibited and explored here and there is no question that it is a visual celebration of the best of the world’s photographic artists.  This year Hilla Bechar, Thomas Ruff, Alec Soth, Taryn Simon, Martin Parr and many more participated this year. Filmmaker and artist David Lynch was this year’s guest of honour, and said of the medium; “The photograph draws you in, provokes many thoughts, leading you into another world, one where you can fulfil your desires

“Paris Photo vu par…” is a personal journey through Paris Photo, entrusted to a different personality each year. This year it was David Lynch who had the very special task of choosing his favourites from among the works exhibited. The resulting journey of his selection of 99 original prints is a novel and unique way to discover more about David Lynch as well as Paris Photo and is available to buy as a unique book.

Armani were the official sponsors of Paris Photo and as part of their creative contribution they presented Acqua  #2,  a powerful selection of photographs on the topic of water. Water supply  is an issue  supported by Giorgio Armani himself through the Acqua for Life  challenge which collected more than 52 million litres of drinkable water for Green Cross International (UNICEF for United States) and its programs in Ghana and Bolivia.

The Acqua  #2 exhibit showcased works by ten photographers,  including Matthew Brandt, Marco Breuer, Anthony Friedkin, Dodo Jin Ming, Syoin Kajii, Joel Meyerowitz, Shinichi Murayama, Toshio Shibata, Aaron Siskind and Alec Soth.

More events within the main event included two photo book awards (by Paris Photo and the Aperture Foundation).  Thirty shortlisted entries in total were exhibited. The first award was for ‘First Photobook’, first monographs published during the past year… and the award-winner, chosen from 20 entries, was David Galjaard, for Concresco (self-published). The second award was for ‘Photobook Of The Year’, chosen from a selection of 10 photobooks published during the year. This winner was Anders Petersen for City Diary Volume 1-3.

In conclusion, Paris Photo 2012 was a huge success and is likely to continue on this spiral upwards, not just because of the incredible talent it’s attracting, but because photographs are an art we can all relate to and connect with. Our own photographs have a powerful place in the stories we tell ourselves and others, evoking memory, emotion, place and time. They are the visual pieces of the jigsaw of our lives.. leading to time only knows where.

Photography copyright Books © David Lynch