I’m missing Paris

I went to Paris for several years for what is I think photography’s largest trade fair, Paris Photo, and reading about this years Paris Photo 2016 in several places, including LensCulture and BJP I am rather missing being there this year.

Paris, 2006

One development I welcome is the increasing emphasis on photography books in the show – again read about it on LensCulture – as I’ve long considered the best place for most photography is on the printed page rather than the wall (and have done my little bit towards this – though not of course featured at Paris.)

I’m also pleased to see the increasing emphasis on Japanese photography, something that has interested me for some years, though the book that would certainly be my choice for Photobook of the Year isn’t in the listings.

Paris Photo, 2006

The pictures above are from my first visit to Paris Photo back in 2006, when I visited Paris for a week with Linda. I spent the first evening and a couple of days inside Photo Paris, then in an underground location, going around every stall and looking at all the pictures. It was great, though there were some dealers to whom a journalist for the web was clearly of very little interest and made sure I felt it. But as you can see from the larger album of pictures here, we had an interesting week in the city, and for me the main attraction in this and the following visits were the many shows outside the dealer fair, in the Mois de la Photo and the fringe events of L’Off. I wouldn’t have gone to Paris just for Paris Photo, and  ‘the Month’ was only every two years.  Now it has evolved into ‘Le Mois de la Photo du Grand Paris‘ and won’t be until April 2017 – another reason for not going there now. But perhaps I will visit next April.

Here’s the post I wrote for this site back in 2006:

Paris was full of photographs in November, and there were some great ones at Paris Photo. But there were things that were hard to take too. Large empty wastes of dollar-rich nothingness covering the walls of some galleries. Vintage prints pulled from some photographers waste-bins and awarded stupendous price-tags. I found it hard not to burst out laughing when a dealer came up to the person next to me and told her the price of one rather ordinary ’60s fashion print was 20,000 euros. A couple of years ago we would have though 200 rather steep, and 2000 definitely well over the top.

Still, all good news for investors, and for the minority of photographers who have a place on the gravy train. There were a few other photographers around, trying to talk to dealers, but this wasn’t the place for it. “Best if you e-mail us” they were politely brushed off.

The first day I had a panic attack of sorts as the place got more and more full of people, all there for the free opening party, and had to rush out and up from the bunker into the fresh air above. The next day things were better, less crowded, but still more a place for millionaires than photographers.

But fortunately, there was much more in Paris than Paris Photo.

In 2008 I published a partial diary of my visit as a ‘Paris Supplement‘ on My London Diary and reviewed some of the shows here on >Re:PHOTO, (beginning here) and I had a great time. I only published the series of posts after I got home as I just didn’t have time to write more than notes in Paris, and they are mixed with other posts – the last, on Louise Narbo, only being published on December 5th. YOu can also find more on My London Diary from 2010 and 2012, and also on the November pages of this site.

In 2014  I was just too busy to go, and the attraction of Paris Photo had somewhat waned after seeing many of the same photographs on some dealers stalls again and again.

Paris, 1984

You can see more of my photographs of Paris from 1973-2007 (when I was also there for Photo Paris) on my web site Paris Photos.

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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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