I have always wanted to visit the Paris Photo fair. This time I did not think twice, I tapped into my savings and took off. It was well worth the trip. The hub of so much talent, lovers of photography, collectors, agents and prestigious galleries - allunder one roof. No sooner had I stepped into Le Grand Palais, that I was facing Sally Mann´s images from her series Still Time. In the 90´s she started shooting landscapeson wet plate collodion glass negatives using her bellow view camera, creating landscapes with such beauty, sensitivityand unique portrayal of light. captivating and directing the viewers´eye to the spaces of light amongst the shrubs and trees. A photographer whom I have always greatly admired.
I started walking through the different isles and came across so many notorious photographs, both contemporary and classical, from Francesca Woodman´s untitled work of a chair, to Irving Penn´s - Penn´s studio´, so perfectly composed - frames within frames, with ingenious use of shapes and lines. Danny Lyon´s images from Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement - an incredible book of photojournalism. Humberto Ríos prints, causing a real stir as the curator of the gallery exhibiting them, nervously and excitedly fussed around a rich collector, whose each nod meant another sale. MarketLuskacová was sitting by her hanging prints, signing her book. Horst P Horst´s barefoot… and so the list goes on and on.
I fantasised over which prints I would buy if I had the money and the following immediately came to mind:
Chloe Sells flamboyant. Incredible print quality and colour.
Cig Harvey´´s Birdcage.
Garry Fabian Miller´s ´The Breaking Storm´. An abstract piece of work, with stunning and vivid colours. As described in the V& A museum´s webpage vam.ac.uk - Camera´less photography: Garry Favian Miller: “amazing colours which he obtains by shining light through coloured glass vessels and over cut paper, shapes to create forms that record directly on photographic paper”
Patrick Demarchelier´s Camille - beautiful use of daylight to silhouette a ballet, stretching over a bar. But alas, they were well out of my economic reach, so I decided to treat myself to some books. I bought the following:
Julie Blackmon -´Homegrown´
Hellen Van Meene - ´The Years Shall Run Like Rabbits¨
Todd HIdo - ´Intimate Distance´
I was left wishing I had also bought
Erwin Olaf Volume II
And Sian Davey´s photobook ´Looking for Alice´
Once back at the hotel room, I looked through the images in these books over and over again, like a child constantly openingher secret box of sweets.
I am especially drawn to Homegrown. Not only are Julie Blackmon´s images perfectly composed and staged, but there is a dark and ironic humour to it. I suppose it taps into my own childhood and brings up sad and uncomfortable memories. As described in Lensculture´s webpage Homegrown: American Unease - her book ¨ explores, among other subjects, the overwhelming, often conflicting expectations and obligations of contemporary parenthood. Her busy, imaginary narratives walk a darkly humour line between lighthearted Americana and the chaos and occasional darkness of our daily lives.¨ To me the images bringup buried feelings from my childhood,
It was a magical day at le Grand Palais. To be repeated next year¡