After the terrible events of last year which cancelled Paris Photo and much else, it was a relief to be able to go this year.
The sheer amount of photography available and the variety is breathtaking. I spent two full afternoons over a weekend and feel that I didn’t see everything by a long shot.
Plenty of examples from the masters are there. Pretty much everything from Timothy O’Sullivan onwards. I found it wonderful to see photos in the flesh, so to speak, that I’d only ever seen in books or on websites. I even managed to find one of my current favourites by Saul Leiter (see right) at only GBP 27600. I was sorely tempted …
In terms of range, it covers everything from the old masters of photography (want a print of Cartier-Bresson’s Behind the Gare St-Lazare 1932?) to relative newcomers and rising stars such as Eamonn Doyle.
A special treat was an exhibition of Sally Mann’s work by the Karsten Greve galley focusing on her large format landscape photos. While I love her classic photos of her children which evoke the carefree, playful qualities of youth, I find her landscape photos particularly interesting. They are very dark, very dense, and it’s often hard to see any detail at all.
The gallery has treated us to a large collection of these images, printed quite large: approximately 1m on the long edge. I find these images quite haunting and very absorbing. It’s as if the dark values draw me in, wanting to see more and more.
If there’s a downside to the exhibition, it’s the gallery-based format. For example, if you want to see work by a particular artist, you’ll typically find the images scattered across half a dozen galleries. Good exercise, for sure, but a little frustrating. Still, for sheer volume and variety of high quality work, Paris Photo is hard to beat: highly recommended.