For one weekend a year, Paris’s Grand Palais is transformed into the biggest photography fair in the world, full of gallerists, dealers, and buyers haggling over photographs by everyone from Modernists such as Man Ray to the latest Instagram sensations. Here are the highlights from the 21st edition of Paris Photo.
The French photographer has spent decades travelling the world, capturing the essence of cities and the young people that live there. Her subjects, too, are wanderers and flâneurs, caught forever in the act of exploring not just their surroundings but also themselves.
In a fair full of serious work, Romain Mader’s had people laughing between gallery stalls. The Swiss photographer documents a fictional search for love in the made-up Ukrainian city of Ekaterina, where he poses awkwardly next to nonplussed women, or is blurred at the side, seeming to photobomb his own snaps. There is pathos, too, and a wry glance at the male gaze itself.
When this Japanese photographer was first noticed at the turn of the millennium, her magical cascades of fireworks and soft, ultramarine forest canopies seemed to anticipate today’s wistful, heavily-filtered digital image-scape. And yet her recent work still shows us a world we feel we have glimpsed but not truly seen. Ultraviolet blossoms, volcanoes with Mohicans of flame; natural and manmade things with a whole new imaginative story imposed on them.
Omar Victor Diop
For his series Diaspora, the Senegalese photographer has made a chronology of black protest through the ages, placing himself everywhere from 18th Century Jamaica to 1970s South Africa. Immaculately composed with a 17th Century Dutch still life sense of palette, these images are sumptuous as well as defiant.
The East Wing gallery stall literally glows with the work of Katrin Koenning. It’s all about bodies of light: light that illuminates a subject but also human forms that radiate it. There’s something enchanting about these images, which are produced using an iPhone. Alec Soth, whose work is also at the fair, has called the Australian-German talent one of his favourite Instagram artists.
Tucked away at the crow’s nest of the fair, the work of this award-winning Greek artist narrates the story of decadent Rio. Transgender sex-workers and painted figures can be seen either resplendent or strung-out on street corners, but always beautiful. Presented in darkness, these images have the feel of neon Caravaggios.
Paul M. Schneggenburger
This Dutch photographer, in his acclaimed photo series The Sleep of the Beloved, investigates how lovers express themselves in the vulnerability of their sleep. These time-lapse images, taken over six hours of a night, are ephemeral and tender. The forms of the couples enwreathed and clinging to each other look like cigarette smoke.
It’s almost two years since the French-Moroccan photojournalist was killed by Jihadists in Burkina Faso. She was working on an Amnesty International project, and only 33. A stall displayed some of her dramatic and sensitive portraits taken of Moroccan subjects, who are traditionally superstitious of having their picture taken.