Sunday, November 19, 2006

Paris Photography Galleries

After having visited Paris Photo 2006 and creating my blog on Paris Photo 2006, JustmeinParis was ready for some serious photographs in Parisian galleries of which there are hundreds. Well, sometimes you are hot and sometimes you are not. Maybe it's just me but when I say, "I could have taken a photo like that" I often wonder why I did not take a photograph and another photographer is showing his images in a gallery. Here is what I found.

Jeu de Paume, Hotel Sully

JustmeinParis love to walk through the grounds of Hôtel de Sully, a hôtel particulier, from rue de Rivoli to la Place des Vosges. Every time it seems like a wonderful discovery of graciousness in Paris. This was my first visit to Jeu de Paume, the underground art museum and now showing the photographs of Joel Meyerowitz in a exposition Out of the Ordinary, 1970-1980 until 14 January, 2007.

The years between 1970 and 1980 were not my favorite and photographs displaying life in those years do not strike me as especially rewarding. Considered to be slightly shocking at the time, Joel Meyerowitz's photographs are colorful, horizons out of line and certainly the antithesis of classic black and white art photography. Hmmm. They actually looked like snapshots to me. Looking on Joel Meyerowitz's web site, I found his other photographs much more interesting than this exhibition.

Ryan McGinley, Galerie du Jour, Agnès B.

The all American road trip is a classic and the photographs by Ryan McGinley show his adventures on such an American road trip in 2005. Certainly the huge, huge color prints show the free spirit and reality of youth but I kept thinking that I took plenty of road trips a while back and nobody was naked. Why are these guys and girls naked? Did I miss something? Is this the new road trip or was I hanging out with the wrong crowd? Finally I thought that my road trips were just as good but nudity was not important to us. Maybe I should have taken photos. Maybe my photographs would be hanging in a gallery somewhere. Well, I did not and they are not.

Centre du Culture Suedois

The Center of Swedish Culture is located in the Marais in an old hôtel particulier. Upon entry, I was struck by the open court with many small tables on the cobblestones. Every table was occupied by young people sipping hot chocolate and coffee and eating pastries from the cafe serving Swedish pastries.

On display were the photographs of Nina Korhonen and Anna Clarén. I found myself thinking that taking photographs of my mother whom I love, would be fine for the family but would I want to display these absolutely huge photographs for the world to see? This woman looks nothing like my mother. Hmmm.

Aux Marches de la Chine, Galerie Fait & Cause

While walking to back to a metro stop, I stumbled upon Galerie Fait & Cause, 58 rue Quincampoix, 75004 Paris that featured photographs of China taken by Wu JIALIN. Finally, here were photographs I could enjoy. Displayed in black and white, these photographs showed a point in history not normally seen. These photographs showed not at all the ugliness of poverty in China although there was, nor violence, nor sensation. Images of daily life of a common man were taken with sensitivity. Wu Jialin once said that he was ashamed to take photographs of people in the street but I find the energy of photographer and subject shine through. This gallery is definitely worth a visit and better yet, there is no entrance fee.

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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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Daniel Simon - Impressions

Having missed two almost two weeks of Le mois de la photo 2006, the Month of the Photograph during November because of a business trip (zut!), I was excited to get out and enjoy a few galleries. This afternoon found me at the Galerie du Montparnasse in the 14e arrondissement of Paris featuring Daniel Simon, Daniel Simon - Impressions. Daniel Simon contributed photographs to hundreds of illustrated features during his 30 years with the Gamma Press Agency.

His work involved working for French and International Magazines but also includes book covers, film and political posters. Daniel Simon's career is typical of the "agency photographers" from the peak of an era that was all about capturing news photographs with one thing in mind: publishing them.

The exposition shows original photographs and their published representations on magazine covers, newspapers and other full-page spreads. It was surprising to see the transformation of good photographs into graphics that we take for granted when we flip through a magazine.

Daniel Simon's photographs cover the well known of the epoch such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone Signoret, Catherine Deneuve, François Mitterand and Lionel Jospin in magazines such as Le Point or Paris Match.

The Exposition runs until 15-November, 2006. This exposition is another with free entrance during Le mois de la photo 2006

Galerie du Montparnasse
55 rue du Montparnasse, 14e arrondissement.
Metro : Edgar Quinet ou Vavin
Telephone : 01 43 22 72 77
Open daily 1 pm - 8 pm

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