Paris Photo returns with a focus on the experimental, objects and vintage

Manhattan Bridge
Manhattan Bridge, East River, 2001
(Image credit: Joseph Rodriguez,Bene Taschen, Cologne)

A ‘photography masterclass’ on board Eurostar with British photographers Mark Neville, Dougie Wallace, George Selley and William Lakin set the tone for this year’s Paris Photo fair. The former presented their new books (Fancy Pictures surveys Neville’s social documentaries from the past 12 years; in Well Heeled, Wallace captures pampered pooches in fashion capitals) while Selley and Larkin appeared in the Carte Blanche platform for emerging talent. Their images were on billboards in the Gare du Nord, as well as in the fair itself at the Grand Palais.

Here, 151 galleries from 29 countries showcased photography from the 19th century to today. ‘This year was strong,’ says German photographer Elger Esser, whose images from his 15-year project to create ‘an atlas of hidden France’ were on show at Paris gallery RX. ‘There’s more focus on the experimental, using objects, and the vintage,’ he adds.   

Bever, Skinningrove, North Yorkshire, 1980

Bever, Skinningrove, North Yorkshire, 1980

(Image credit: Chris Killip, Augusta Edwards Fine Art)

To coincide with the launch of a special edition book of his photos, fashion designer and ‘guest of honour’ Karl Lagerfeld selected around 100 of his favourite works. Those wanting to share his passions could follow an unofficial ‘trail’ which ranged from landscapes by young self taught Teheran photographer Ebrahim Norooz at Silk Road Gallery to abstract architectural images by the late Spanish modernist Marcel Giro at RocioSantaCruz Gallery.    
Nine film and video works made their debut this year at Paris Photo including a video piece by artist Vanessa Beecroft, while for the third year, the Prisms section was dedicated to large-format works. Among them, British photographer Nadav Kandar presented atmospheric additions to his Thames Estuary project.

Buenos Aires, 1986

Buenos Aires, 1986

(Image credit: Oscar Pintor. © The artist. Courtesy of Toluca Fine Art)

Nude portraits of children by Ellen Brooks at Fraenkel Gallery and Sally Mann at Stephen Daiter appeared, in these days of ubiquitous internet porn, both dated and shocking, but not as disturbing as images of Palestinians by Miki Kratsman. The Israeli photographer used a lens from a first generation drone to create grainy, black and white shots that instantly render their (innocent) subjects suspicious. It echoes the surveillance techniques used by the Israel Defense Forces, and is, says Kratsman, ‘a project about perception’.

Sharing Smoke Saint Paul Minnesota

Sharing Smoke. Saint Paul, Minnesota, 1996

(Image credit: Alec Soth. © The artist. Courtesy of Loock Galerie)

Not Miss New Brighton

Not Miss New Brighton, 1978

(Image credit: Tom Wood. © The artist. Courtesy of Galerie Sit Down)

Amanita Fulva

Amanita Fulva, 2017

(Image credit: Viviane Sassen. © The artist. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg)

During Lsquoto Live And Die In Larsquo Los Angeles

During ‘To Live and Die in L.A.’ Los Angeles, 1984

(Image credit: Robby Müller. © The artist. Courtesy of Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam)

Pelican Vulno

Pelican Vulno, 2017

(Image credit: Viviane Sassen. © The artist. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg)

Rue Dr Theze, Dakar

Rue Dr Theze, Dakar, 2017

(Image credit: Guy Tillim. © The artist. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg)

Traces Series

Untitled #4, 2015, by Weronika Gesicka, from the series Traces.  

(Image credit: © The artist. Courtesy of In Camera Galerie)

Le chapeau grenat

Le chapeau grenat, 2016

(Image credit: Sarah Moon. © The artist. Courtesy of Camera Obscura)

Fatboy Billiards Minneapolis Minnesota

Fatboy Billiards. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1996 (printed by the artist 2017)

(Image credit: Alec Soth. © The artist. Courtesy of Galerie Loock)

Series Les deux labyrinthes

Untitled #109, After Fischli and Weiss, 2016, by Michel Le Belhomme, from the series Les deux labyrinthes

(Image credit: © The artist. Courtesy of Galerie Binome, Paris)

Woman in Living Room

Woman in Living Room, 2013

(Image credit: Gregory Crewdson. © The artist. Courtesy of Galerie Templon, Paris/Brussels)

Transparent City

Transparent City #88, 2007

(Image credit: Michael Wolf. © The artist. Courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery)

NY 3

NY 3, 2016, by Philippe De Gobert 

(Image credit: © The artist. Courtesy of Aline Vidal)


For more information, visit the Paris Photo website

Emma O'Kelly is a freelance journalist and author based in London. Her books include Sauna: The Power of Deep Heat and she is currently working on a UK guide to wild saunas, due to be published in 2025.