Last year we visited ParisPhoto as a field trip with Falmouth University and this year I decided to visit ParisPhoto to specifically look at work of photographers who I view as contemporary photographers such as Nadav Kander and Simon Roberts.
On the Flowers Gallery Stand was a print from Nadav’s recent Thames Estuary body of work. The print was a larger portrait image with subtle colour tones similar to the colour tones found in Jason Orton and my own work from the Essex Coast / Thames Estuary. My own images are currently presented in landscape form, though I like the idea of converting the image into a series of three panels which reminiscent of the panels that were created in the 14th century.
Simon Roberts’ Merrie Albion – Landscapes Studies of a Small Island has been produced in large print and book formats. Similar to Nadav’s work the colour tones are subtle and the landscapes included an image from Flatford Mill famously recorded on canvas by Constable with well known titles such as Lott’s Cottage.
ParisPhoto is towards the pinnacle of the photographic art market with pictures commanding prices at the higher end of the market out of reach with ownership being out of reach for most of the visitors attending on the Saturday this is a consequence of the fact that it is expensive for galleries to hire space in the Grand Palais. The show had gallery representation from the across the globe with multiple Asian galleries having made the trip to Paris.
The scale of the amazing Grand Palais could overwhelm the casual visitor and the following video is a tour of the centre section only.
In addition to the prints being exhibited a number of book publishers has stands and arranged book signings. The book signings provided visitors with a chance to speak to photographers and I spent time talking to the photographer Stefan Bladh about is new book Hidden Kingdom published by Kerber.
After spending time at ParisPhoto I went to OffPrint which sits at a very different position within the art market. Exhibitions having a single 6ft trestle table to house books, zines and prints. While Grand Palais atmosphere might be described as refined whereas OffPrint has a grass roots / art student vibe with exhibitors drinking glasses of wine and pints of beer. I had a chance to catch-up with Arron Morel from Morel Books who I had meets earlier in the year at a Magnum Photobook event. Arron was selling a number of books including a new limited edition surrealist photobook what was interesting about this specific book was the pricing strategy that Arron had adopted where as he sold each copy of the book he increased the book price by 1 unit of the local currency. No 1 of the edition sells for £1, €1 or $1 yet No 68 sells for £68/€68/$68 directly linking rarity to value. An interesting strategy encouraging collectors to buy close to release date.
Looking back on ParisPhoto 2016 to ParisPhoto 2017 I feel I have a better appreciation of the art market and how artists and galleries operate within the market. At ParisPhoto most galleries were showing work from multiple artists rather than UnSeen where the same galleries were showing single artists and less well recognised artists. The presence of Asian galleries reinforcing interest in vintage photographs especially by Japanese Photographers