Today, Paris Photo, the world’s leading photography fair has closed its curtains for the 20th time at Grand Palais. This year’s entrants have been a noteworthy set, with 153 galleries and 30 publishers and specialised art book dealers all under one majestic glass-and-iron domed roof – the 2016 version didn’t disappoint. To give you a taste of what’s on offer, here are some of our highlights from this year…
CAROLINE SMULDERS, Paris
A booth functioning as one of the fairs “secret gems” showcases Gerard Malanga’s fantastic series of work, capturing the singularity of American avant-gardist. Hailing from New York, Malanga served as Andy Warhol’s main collaborator from 1930 to 1970. Both a photographer and poet, his work tells the artistic tale of a specific moment in time.
FRAENKEL, San Francisco
Fraenkel is showcasing its usual “greatest hits” with the likes of Nan Goldin, Adam Fuss, Sophie Calle and Lee Friedlander. Calle’s Collateral Damage, Targets is a series comprised of reappropriated mugshots of young offenders used as targets during the training of US police officers. The portraits – with each subject’s eyes covered – evoke an air of unease yet simultaneously entice the viewer to take a closer look.
JOHANNES FABER, Vienna
Expertly curated and Candid’s winner of the most diverse booth, which received much interest in the fair’s first few hours. If you are limited on time, this is a must see. Representing the greats from Man Ray, Martin Parr, Alfred Eisensteadt, Henri Cartier-Breeson to name a few.
Photography powerhouse Magnum brought one of the real treats of this year’s edition with an understated, juxtaposition of new and old photographers, stressing the photojournalistic nature: Sergio Larrain’s intriguing new works, here rubbing shoulders with works by Magnum’s nominee Matt Blackworks and recent works by rising star Alex Majoli. Magnum’s Christina Vatsella revealed that the photos on display “emancipate” themselves from their respective projects/commissions and exist as stand alone photos.
DANIEL BLAU, Munich
A gloriously bright pink booth presents work by Edward Wallowitch, US War Photography, Weegee and Nasa. The playful blush of colour nods towards the works of Andy Warhol, who used Wallowitch’s portraits of children as sources for his drawings.
Colour being a common thread here, it is interesting to consider that most of the photography published in the 1950s was black-and-white. Large pictures of American nuclear tests in colour are a rarity of 20th century documentary photography. The US Army Nuclear testing photographs capture a innocent beauty not often associate with a bomb. The sheer volume and power is exposed; the devastation yet to be revealed.
The german based gallery will be publishing a new book, “misled youth” showing a selection of never seen before photos of the Hitler youth and writing about the war from the Nazi standpoint.
MICHAEL HOPPEN, London
A tight presentation of work, hung in what can best be described as a walk-in-cupboard, showcasing photography by Hiroshi Hamaya from the 1950’s and rare vintage works by Sergio Larrain – both photographers once with Magnum. This rare opportunity allows the viewer to reexamine their work within this intimate setting. By contrast their contemporary Eamonn Doyle illustrates his unique approach to street portraiture.
SOPHIE SCHEIDECKER, Paris
A great display of Pierre Molinier’s photos, which possess almost a “social conscience”, thus the booth is hidden around the side of the entrance, almost closed off. The presentation of the work eludes to a powerfully erotic “private/intimate boudoir”. The tone is immediately set and it is as you’re being let in on a naughty secret.
JANET BORDEN, New York
There’s so much to enjoy at Janet Borden booth, exhibiting major works by Robert Cumming, Jan Groover and Martin Parr. Parr’s series of work puts all instagram foodies to shame. He reinvents the mundane view of contemporary life. The seemingly boring, familiar images of food become lusciously appealing through the use of bold, vibrant colours. It is advised not to visit on an empty stomach.
DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM, Berlin
“No Joke”, a truly surreal black and white collaborative series featuring Roger Ballen and Asger Carlsen. It serves as a humourous pause amidst the bustling crowds, with works representing the final result in a compilation of different approaches including Photoshop, analog cut, illustrations and paste techniques.
JABLONKA MARUANI MERCIER, Cologne
A joint show featuring Lyle Ashton Harris and Hank Willis Thomas’ – championed for his Unbranded series – looks at the ever-relevant notions of virtue, power, beauty, privilege, and desire in mainstream America. The work draws attention to the male gaze and feminine ideal, which has been objectified and consequently advertised to individuals across gender, racial, and socio-economic channels for the past hundred years. This thought provoking booth leaves one questioning whether we have in fact progressed, the photos are as relevant today as ever before.
YUMIKO CHIBA, Tokyo
“Photography can only represent the present. Once photographed, the subject becomes part of the past,” Berenice Abbott, 1898 – 1991
This quote resonates with the series of work by Imai, Kazuyo Kinoshita, Hiroshi Yamazaki and Masafumi Maita. The works are relatable through the clever merger of an object’s image and matter in their works. Time Clothing is a particularly curious shot where polaroids are taken and staged as the subjects clothes, illustrating the moments of passion and “snapshots”.
By Amy Purssey
Paris Photo, Grand Palais , Avenue Winston Churchill , 75008 Paris, France. November 10-13, 2016.