Paris Photo is an international art fair of photography held annually in Paris, France in early November. The first Paris Photo art fair was in 1997, and in 2006 public attendance was 40,000.
This year the fair moved from the Carrousel du Louvre (the underground shopping centre attached to the Louvre Museum) to Le Grand Palais, a ‘fantastic space’ said Mr Hunt, but because of the glass ceiling and gorgeous weather, ‘everybody was worried about their Polaroids being ruined by all that sunshine!’ As for organization, ‘the smaller photos really stood out in the original space – they hung everywhere like jewels. In Le Grand Palais, the larger space meant larger prints, and with twice as many dealers it was harder to find the small gems. The space itself was very navigable and it was easy to find one’s way around.’
Every year, Paris Photo celebrates the photographic accomplishments of a particular place or country. This year it chose African photography, ‘unveiling the creative wealth of historic and contemporary African artists.’ This theme ran throughout the exhibition and included galleries that support African art and photography as well as the private collection of Artur Walther.
Mr Hunt found the exhibition to be enlightened and the work ‘very accomplished,’ noting that the selection of framed photographs was ‘intelligent, eye-filling and engaging.’ While the exhibition ‘mimicked the 20th-century history of photography in countries like France, Germany and the US, it spoke to a certain curiosity and was not at all disappointing.’
Beyond Le Grand Palais, Mr Hunt found Paris abuzz with photography, with parallel events taking place all over the city. ‘Everywhere you went there were queues and queues of people waiting to see photographs. It was very heartening.’
W.M. Hunt, creator of The Unseen Eye, is a New York-based collector, curator and consultant. His photography collection is currently showing at The George Eastman House in New York in one of the largest exhibitions in the gallery’s history.