Monday, 29 November 2010

Paris Photo 2010 Review

I was not able to make last years Paris Photo so was therefore eager to get there this time round. Over the last 5 years I have seen the attendance rise year after year, it took almost an hour to que up and purchase tickets.

The highlights for me were numerous. I found myself gravitating towards smaller exquisitely printed images this year and was actually surprised at how many there were on offer. These included a rare postcard sized silver gelatine print of 'Chez Mondrian' Paris, 1926'   by Andre Kertesz on the Howard Greenburg stand.

At the Gitterman gallery they had a small print of ’ Georgia O’Keeffe, A Portrait-After return from New  Mexico, 1929  by  Alfred Stieglitz . It was nice to see to read the history behind the print which I have also included below.

The Robert Koch gallery had a 'Self Portrait ' postcard sized print by Kertesz

An interesting gum over platinum print by Alvin Langdon Coburn entitled 'Wings' at the Hans P.Kraus stand caught me eye

On the subject of Coburn I had a chance to view his original print book on 'London'. This is a masterpiece, simply stunningly printed photogravures. One of the finest books i have had the chance to view. Those who follow my blog will know how passionate I am about books with original prints, I recently wrote an article on the subject which featured this book.

As a platinum printer who prints for other photographic artists I am naturally on the look out for prints made using this beautiful alternative printing process and again was not disappointed this year. Hamilton’s who had one of the best looking stands of the fair had a number of platinum prints for sale including those by Horst ' The Mainbocher corset,Paris 1939'

and Irving Penn with 'Woman in Moroccan Palace (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn)', Marrakech, 1951

Two years ago a similar print sold at auction for nearly $400,000, the price of this one was quite a bit more than that. All in all a stunning print of Penn's wife in Morroco.

Robert Klien had one of my favourite still life Penn platinum print's for sale entitled ' New York Still Life' 1947. I had never seen this print in person, the tonal range Penn achieved with this print is exquisite.

It was interesting to note that the label for the print, shown below, stated 'twice coated platinum/palladium print on aluminum'. This is the first time i have seen one of his prints labelled in this way. Twice coated is a reference to Penn’s technique of creating multi-layered platinum prints whereby he used successive layers of platinum/palladium and a number of negatives of varying contrast to achieve a richer tonal range and greater dmax.( Not to be confused with double coating which some contemporary platinum printers use, this only  involves one exposure cycle, a single negative and the is not bonded to aluminum) Followers of the blog will know that I have been involved in detailed research into this technique and have achieved some excellent results.

I am always open to new types of photography whether it be colour or black and white, Any print that is labelled unique gets me attention. Two years ago on the blog I highlighted Paolo Roversi’s beautiful original Polaroid’s that were on show, this year I came across a collection of unique silver dye prints by Bernoit Vollmeck These contact prints  are somewhat of a visual revelation to view and have almost a daguerreotype quality to them. I had a chance to talk with the photographer who had just arrived at the stand and he said that they are created by ‘using a  sheet of ilfochrome paper that is directly inserted into a large format camera and exposed to light, without the prior use of film.’ A challenging technique to master but definitely worth it as the prints were stunning to view in person.

Another photographer that caught my attention was Naoya Hatakeyama at the Sage (Paris) stand, these were quite possibly the most luminous black and white prints I have ever seen. The series entitled ‘Maquettes/Light’  featured large tower block buildings and were labelled as being  silver gelatine prints with a B&W tranparacey and light box. The actual print/transparcy was being lit from behind. Sounds rather complicated but the effect was  really interesting.

These were just the highlights of the day, if you visit the show next year make sure you allow enough time to see everything.  Overall I really enjoyed the event and look forward to returning next year.

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