Sunday, November 19, 2006

Paris Photo 2006

Paris Photo 2006 in it's 10th year, was every bit as exciting to me as last year. Photographs shown here are not my own but from the Press Release of the Paris Photo 2006 Press web site. Paris Photo exposition was held at Carrousel du Louvre, hosted 88 photography galleries and 18 editors from all over the world with France, the United States, Spain England and the Netherlands being the most represented. Each art gallery displays its best photographs from the very early days of photography to the present representing the many styles over the years. These often rare and well-known photographs represent the best for the collector of photographs.

Countries of Honor

After honoring Spain in 2005, Paris Photo this year turns to the Nordic countries with special exhibitions from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. A selection of 8 galleries were shown with special expositions of emerging artists.

Expositions of Note

Mona Kuhn was busy at a gallery signing her latest book, Evidence, that shows alluring renditions of the human form. Her photographs appear as diffuse soft nudes from a fashion shoot with a small part of the photograph in focus.

At Flatland Gallery, this year's sensation as was last year, the photography of Ruud van Empel and his huge, colorful, almost naive photographs with flat light and fine details like a modern-day Henri Rousseau. Although he has taken photographs of many different themes, the most impressive of Van Empel's photographs show a single young black child either standing in a jungle surrounded by green foliage or the child's head half submerged in a pond full of water lilies and green plants.

Many people do not like the photographs of Loretta Lux a German photographer, who's photographs of young thin children are disturbing in the misshapen large heads, flat light and strange old clothing and settings. Her photographs are also strange in that they are not as large as others at Paris Photo, but I find them intriguing in their oddity.

Finally in the last exhibition room, I found prints of my favorite photographer, Michael Kenna, represented by Gallery Camera Obscura not far me in the 14e arrondissement of Paris. There on a prominent wall were ten of Michael Kenna's wonderful prints. Each print was 9 inches square (20cm) framed and matted in a much larger 40x50cm frame oriented in portrait. The monochrome prints usually taken for several seconds of exposition, subtly blended from black to gray and white. These images are soothing to me and represent the "zen" of photography and indeed, several of his photographs are taken in Japan.

I was fascinated by seeing the prints of Michael Kenna that I had previously only known by his web site or by the few prints I have seen displayed in galleries in Paris. When I realized that the English voice discussing these prints was really this famous photographer himself, my day was complete.

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