Held annually since 1997, Paris Photo is one of the
world’s most prestigious photography art fairs. It takes place
at the magnificent and expansive Grand Palais building on the
Champs-Élysées, which is so huge that they manage to pack 190
exhibitors from 29 countries while still allowing their art
full room to breathe.
This year’s fair is also connected with two big names. Fashion
designer Karl Lagerfeld is the guest of honour, sharing his
personal favourites from the thousands of artworks on show.
Rock legend Patti Smith is also curating a section of work. You
probably won’t get to see either in person, but their
involvement adds an extra dash of energy and inventiveness
that’s one of the reasons Paris Photo still feels alive and
fresh, 21 editions in.
To get technical, there are actually four fairs in one at Paris
Photo. The main event consists of 151 galleries from 29
countries, offering a panorama of photography from the 19th
century to today, with 29 solo shows and 12 duo shows. There’s
also the Prismes sector, which is dedicated to large formats,
series, and installation works; the Book sector, bringing
together work from 32 publishers and art book dealers from
eight countries; and a Film and Video sector.
But on the whole, what’s basically on offer is a kaleidoscope
of photographic and visual inspiration that you’ll need at
least three solid hours to take the measure of.
While in no way professing to be a ‘best of’ list (that would
be impossible), here are some of our favourites that we spotted
along the way…
1. Kenro Izu
Still Life 1015b, 2004. © Kenro Izu. Courtesy of Benrido
Kenro Izu is a
Japanese-born fine art photographer based in the United States.
With a focus on sacred ancient stone monuments, Buddhism and
Hinduism, he is the recipient of the 2007 Lucie Awards’
Visionary Photographer award.
2. Valérie Belin
Golden Girl, 2016. © Valérie Belin. Courtesy of Edwynn Houk
Valérie Belin is a
French photographer who won the 2015 Prix Pictet on the theme
of “Disorder”. She is represented by Edwynn Houk Gallery.
3. Mahtab Hussain
You Get Me?, 2017. © Mahtab Hussain. Courtesy of the artist and
Mahtab Hussain is a
British artist exploring the important relationship between
identity, heritage and displacement. His themes develop through
long-term research, articulating a visual language that
challenges the prevailing concepts of multiculturalism.
4. Denis Dailleux
Ghana, 2016. © Denis Dailleux. Courtesy of Le Bec en L’air
Denis Dailleux is a
French photographer living in Cairo. His photographic work
appears calm on the surface, yet is run through by an
undercurrent of constant self-doubt and propelled by the
essential personal bond he develops with his subjects.
5. Matthew Pillsbury
Subway Therapy 2, Union Square, New York City, December 3 (TV
160708), 2016. © Matthew Pillsbury. Courtesy of Benrubi
Born in France, Matthew
Pillsbury is an American photographer living in New York.
His work has been exhibited in major museums and art galleries
across the globe.
6. Mickalene Thomas
Tell Me What You’re Thinking, 2016. © Mickalene Thomas.
Courtesy of Yancey Richardson Gallery
Mickalene Thomas is an
Afro-Amercian artist known for her complex paintings made of
rhinestones, acrylic and enamel. Her work examines ideas around
femininity, beauty, race, sexuality, and gender.
7. Scott Conarroe
Chaltwasser Gletscher, Switzerland, 2014. © Scott Conarroe.
Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery
Scott Conarroe is known
for his large-format studies of both natural landscapes and the
built environment. He has exhibited widely across his native
Canada and in 2013, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship.
8. Yasumasa Morimura
“Gentlemen, your turn is over”, 2004. © Yasumasa Morimura.
Courtesy of Juana De Aizpuru
Morimura is a Japanese appropriation artist who has has
been working as a conceptual photographer and filmmaker for
more than three decades. Through extensive use of props,
costumes, makeup, and digital manipulation, the artist
transforms himself into recognisable subjects, often from the
Western cultural canon.
9. Weronika Gesicka
Untitled #5, Traces series, 2015. © Weronika Gesicka. Courtesy
of In Camera gallery
Weronika Gesicka is a
Polish photographer whose work revolves around memory and its
mechanisms. She is interested in both scientific and
pseudoscientific theories, mnemonics and various disorders
associated with it.
10. Christian Tagliavini
La Moglie dell´Orefice, 2017. © Christian Tagliavini / Courtesy
of Camera Work
Swiss-Italian photographer Christian Tagliavini
loves designing stories with open endings, requiring the
observer’s complicity, on unexplored themes or unusual
concepts. His work commonly features uncommon people with their
lives and their thoughts made visible.
Main image courtesy of Paris Photo 2017