Many years ago, PhotoLA was held at the local auction house, Butterfields & Butterfields, up on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. Opening night was dedicated to raising money for a charitable cause, and photo aficionados from around the city gathered, to see what the dealers from all over the world had brought to town.
It almost felt like a bazaar, as the booths were trucked into nooks and crannies of the space, or the larger areas were cut up like mismatched cookies to accommodate each dealers specific wares. Large prints, books, viewing racks, loose prints, it was all there.
And the best part was looking around and realizing who shared your passion for the photographic arts.
Everyone was welcome: celebrities, musicians, students, the tragically hip, baby collectors, and those just excited to see this much photography in one place.
Stephen Cohen started it then and he continues it now at what has become the second home for PhotoLA, the Santa Monica Civic Center.
Last night was the traditional opening night, with hosts David La Chapelle and Christopher Lowell.
Snackage, great and varied photography and, most important, the photographic community all made the scene.
Many luminaries of the photographic world were there. Shaking hands, hugging, going around in their solitary manner looking at the work.
And then the rest of us, who regularly attend these kind of things, taking a walk through and making mental notes on what to come back to.
Artist: Hu Li, Title: Backward Backward
Courtesy of MR Gallery
There is always something to come back to.
The hidden gems you missed while surfing the walls.
One such photo tucked into a full wall of images was a photo of Diane Arbus, camera at the ready in a park, already engaging a perspective subject. Awesome! (we’ll see if we can show that in the next article.)
One of our favorite features are the seminars helping you understand what you are looking at on the walls.
Not a book about each image, but a sense of place in the history of photography.
Even if you are not ready to collect, the learnings are huge.
Plus David La Chapelle will be speaking on Saturday.
The red dots signifying a sale were already being placed on some pieces last night, as collectors were buying before they were lost to another.
Good news in these economic times.
Artist: Julie Blackmon, Title: Baby Toss, Year 2009, Medium: Archival Pigment Print, Size: 22″ x 29″
Edition of 25
Courtesy of photo-eye Gallery
Every time we come to these art fairs, we do photograph the scene, but showing you images of people looking at images, seems kinda pointless for those not able to attend the event for geographic reasons, which is most of you.
So, we’ll be taking a tighter look around on Saturday and then sharing links to the galleries that we thought had some interesting work you may want to check out, even on online.
The 19th Annual International
Los Angeles Photographic Art Exposition
January 14 – 17, 2010
Santa Monica Civic
1855 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401-3209