Paris Photo Los Angeles opened to the public April 25 for a long weekend show at Paramount Studios’ legendary New York set. The cosmopolitan setting in the center of Hollywood is a good match for a global view of trends in photography and the 18 countries represented among exhibitors. Both galleries and book publishers are featuring the world of photography and the diverse constellation of exhibitions invites visitors to see photography from new angles.
One angle that stands out at multiple exhibits is the broad range of surfaces that contemporary photography appears upon. The Guido Costa Gallery of Italy is featuring a large scale seascape image by Paul Thorel on a wall sized tapestry. The material, a blend of silk and cotton fibers, gives the work a texture that traditional photo printing techniques cannot rival. Aluminum, plexiglass, cathode ray tubes and three dimensional surfaces are all used to display photographic images showing different dimensions than seen on traditional photo paper.
The standout in portraiture at the show is from book publisher Taschen. It has dedicated its display to previews of a forthcoming book of portraits by Annie Leibovitz. Many will have a familiar look, because they were previously published in magazine photo shoots for Vanity Fair magazine, but seeing them in near life size format accentuates the photographer’s talent for motivating subjects to project their personalities into her lens. Another attraction for portraiture admirers is Magnin – A of Paris with its collection of portraits by Kirpi Katembo and Malik Sidbe.
Paris Photo is ambitiously positioning the event as a display of both still photography and the moving image. At this year’s show, digital images that reflect all the possibilities of motion that digital technology can offer are still a rarity. There is a screening room for projection of conventional films on related topics, but for locals in Los Angeles, it is just another specialty themed film festival. It is good of this type, with highlights like “El Mundo” a classical musical concert on screen and moving renderings of our local landscapes from Mojave and Sequoia. The greater potential that Paris Photo is showing this year is its ability to maintain the images projected at this fair and the autumn show at Paris Photo in Paris itself with a year round digital community.
What visitors to Paris Photo will not see is a consistent trend or fashion of the year in photography. The individual galleries reflect regional tastes, making the experience of touring the exhibits like a treasure hunt. The program continues through Sunday on the lot of Paramount Studios in Hollywood, with main visitor access at the Gower Avenue entrance. A detailed list of exhibitors and online ticket purchase information are online at this link.