Paris Photo L.A. Preview: The Events and Exhibits to Visit

Courtesy of Fototeka Los Angeles/LAPD
"Unedited!: The LAPD Photo Archives" exhibition

The annual photography fair, attended by the likes of Morgan Freeman, David Lynch and Drew Barrymore, returns on April 25 with more than 80 galleries participating at the Paramount Studios lot.

The Paris Photo L.A. art fair made an inaugural splash last year, from the unique setting on the Paramount Studios “New York Street” backlot to the panel discussions that included Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner in conversation with photographer Gregory Crewdson. The fair, satellite to the famed Paris Photo fair that takes places in the French capital every November, was a major success, drawing 13,500 viewers, including such names as Morgan Freeman, David Lynch, Paramount CEO Brad Grey, CAA’s Richard Lovett, Drew Barrymore and Sean Penn. On April 25 through 27, they’ll do it all again, with more than 80 galleries participating.

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“The experiment was indeed successful,” says Paris Photo director Julien Frydman of last year’s debut. “Nevertheless, we learned that people enjoyed walking around, so we needed to create easier ways to move from one soundstage to the other. It will create an even more dynamic experience. We also added some more programming.”

Among those looking forward to this year’s show is Jodie Foster who tells The Hollywood Reporter that her love of photography stems from the fact that “every image is a singular moment in time, something that happened for a split second and will never be repeated. Owning that image is like reliving some special secret.” (Among the works in her collection are pieces by Man Ray, John Outterbridge, Diane Arbus and Rinko Kawauchi.)

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Below are the must-see exhibitions and events this weekend.

1. LAPD archive show

One of the new programs is an exhibition of work culled from the Los Angeles Police Department archives. Frydman worked with Fototeka Gallery’s Merrick Morton, who is a reserve officer in the LAPD as well as a photographer, and who, with his wife Robin Blackman been entrusted to organize the City Records Center’s massive collection of images taken for the Special Investigations Division of the LAPD. “I looked for specific pictures that moved from that document role to a narrative work of art,” says Frydman of the approximate 80 images that include pictures from the Manson Family and the Black Dhalia murders. “It’s the same work, but if you look at them in a different way, they become like film stills. You don’t know if they are from film or from reality.”

2. Dennis Hopper screening

On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter will sponsor a special presentation of The Last Movie, a 1971 film made by the late Dennis Hopper

“We opened the door last year about trying to nourish the relationship between photography and moving images,” says Frydman. “Through Dennis Hopper being himself a photographer, and a filmmaker, and an actor -- he’s a great symbol of that. The Last Movie is a film that I would say is more of an artistic statement about what making a film is. It’s really turning the camera to what it means to make a movie.”

3. Panel Discussions

Organized again by independent curator Douglas Fogle, this year’s Sound and Vision panel series will feature discussions between Canadian photographer Jeff Wall and Academy Award-nominated film editor Kevin Tent (Nebraska;Sideways); L.A. artist Taryn Simon and pioneering photographer Stephen Shore; and provocative L.A. artist Leigh Ledare and interdisciplinary artist Frances Stark, among others.

“The mix of artists is pretty wide ranging,” says Fogle over the phone. Stark, he says, “does online digital work and film and video alongside her other practice of making drawings and paintings,” while Shore “comes from a more classical photographic background” and Simon “has a more conceptual approach to the image.” As for the pairing of Wall and Tent, Fogle explains that the idea was inspired by “directorial” nature of Wall’s photos. “Jeff was really interested in speaking with either a cinematographer, editor, or a director,” says Fogle. “Jeff’s photographs look like frozen moments from a storyline. I was excited that Kevin was available and interested. I really love his work with Alexander Payne ever since Election. Editors are very underrated in Hollywood.”

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4. Gallery Shows

Of the 80 or so galleries, more than 30 will present solo shows, including photographer Uta Barth at 1301PE, Stephen Shore at 303 Gallery, works by Guy Bourdin at Louise Alexander, Mariah Robertson at M+B, Penelope Slinger at Riflemaker and Candida Höfer at Thomas Zander. “When galleries feel comfortable to bring a solo show, it’s better for the audience, because they can enter into an artist’s body of work,” says Frydman.

Peter Fetterman, who runs the prominent Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica, is showing works from iconic Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado’s new body of work, “Genesis,” alongside Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gregori Maiofis, Pentti Sammallahti and Stephen Wilkes. “Salgado communicates to a large audience,” says Fetterman. “The message of his work is very zeitgeist of what we’re all thinking about -- a very environmental, humanistic message.”

303 Gallery, will be coming from New York to show a series of photographs that Shore took while following Doug Aitken’s “Station to Station” nomadic railway music festival this past summer. “My gallery brings my work to non-photo-centric art fairs like Frieze and Art Basel,” says Shore, who is known for pioneering color photography in the 1970s, “but I think that this also gets to a different audience, and Paris Photo has such a great reputation for the quality of its exhibitors.”

Also on view during the weekend will be an exhibit called “100 Years of Leica Photography,” as well as David Hockney’s BMW Art Car. 

Frydman expects the whole affair to supersede last year’s fair. “I don’t want to quote a figure, because I don’t want to look bad if we don’t match that figure, but I think we’re going to do much better than last year,” he says. “Above 15 or 16 [thousand], maybe more.”