Paris Photo 2012
The gardens of the Champs Elysées play host to international talent and broad ideas
Each year Paris Photo grows greater and grander than the year before, ensuring that the 2012 show makes a decisive leap to the front of the line as the best art photography fair to date. Returning to the Grand Palais for the second year running, the show's venue was not the only spectacular aspect of the fair. Paris Photo 2012 incorporated discussions by notable artists Hilla Bechar, Thomas Ruff, Alec Soth, Taryn Simon and Martin Parr (to name a few), the year's first "Paris Photo—Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards," as well as four forms of David Lynch—the lectures by Lynch, the book he curated about the fair, the mobile application with selected works by Lynch, as well as a featured photograph of him by Nadav Kander. It would be safe to attest the fair was a little Lynch-centric, but, given his status as one of the most original and innovated image makers of our time, most of us were happy to have a little more Lynch in our lives.
All of these bells and whistles, respectfully, did not reduce the attention of the 137 galleries that brought with them the highest quality of photographic works. The fair represented the vast and varied tropes, themes, discussions and conflicts happening within art photography today. Genres from documentary and historical to fashion and commercial were touched upon, if not directly at least in reference, for their importance in the photography world and their entanglement with "Art Photography". At its core, Paris Photo is a celebration of both the diversity and unity of the photography world.
New York's Von Lintel Gallery displayed beautiful images by American artist John Chiara. Using a self-built camera he describes as "the size of U-Haul truck," Chiara produces large photographic prints in which there is never a negative. The image is a direct positive image, meaning that when the shutter is realized the light hitting the paper, treated with Chiara own mixture of light sensitive material, makes the image that we see as viewer. The paper is the negative process as well as the darkroom process creating one-off pieces of artwork. Chiara is playing with the notion of memory and truthfulness not only in our minds, but in the history of photography as well. As the light, and, thus, the image, burns its way onto the paper, so does "the psychological weight burns the visual into memory" says Chiara.
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