The Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris is packed with visitors these days as it welcomes the 24th edition of Paris Photo, the leading international fair dedicated to photography.
For five days, photography and art lovers, collectors and industry professionals are navigating a sea of almost 200 galleries and art book dealers.
After the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, this year it felt even more crowded than usual.
An art collector in Chicago at the event said it was because “we are all thirsty for art, we all want to touch it again.”
Navigating the fair has always been an exciting and slightly challenging adventure: it’s almost too overwhelming – trying to take all these paths that the artists are inviting us on, often in entirely different universes.
This year we wander between the works of Anna Atkins, a 19th-century botanist widely considered to be the first woman to create a photograph, and the works of hundreds of outstanding contemporary artists who more often than not produce innovative, multi-layered work in mixed techniques.
For many of them, photography is often only one of the multiple tools used in an artistic journey of creating a piece. Painting, embroidering on the photograph as well as printing the image on rather unusual materials seems increasingly popular among gallerists.
Visiting the fair is not cheap – a 30 euro ticket will grant you access for one day.
Once you are in, there is more to it than the exhibited photo work, you are invited to participate in discussions with the artists, sign photo books and exchange a few words with stars as big as Sabine Weiss, Raymond Depardon, Susan Meiselas and hundreds of others.
The schedule is tight but it’s impossible to leave as “the same you”. The inspiration you get at the event will stay with you for a long time having a great potential to change the way you view the world.
The fair is open till Sunday evening, but if you are not lucky enough to be in Paris these days, the fair offers you access to many of its galleries and events online (accessible at the Paris Photo Fair website via registration).
Tuning in is free of charge and free of crowds but offers a lot to discover.