[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e just got back from the 23rd Annual International LA Photographic Art Exposition buzzing with ideas and inspiration that we just have to share with you.
Photo LA is usually in Santa Monica, but this year the event was hosted at LA Mart, a great venue just southwest of downtown LA.
When you go to Photo LA you get immersed in all that is photography; new artists, gallerists, investors, established artists, printing styles, framing styles. You get to see the full panoramic spectrum of photography, sense its new direction, and hitch a ride to its new destination.
There were exhibitors with pieces from Bernice Abbot, Andre Kertesz, Gordon Parks, Weegee, Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Klein and thousands of others. Here are some of our favorites.
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The Ansel Adams Collection showcased by dkrm from the Los Angeles Public Library, was unlike anything we had seen from Adams before, and there’s a reason for this.
Ansel Adams was known for his traditional landscapes, but he also had to take photographic assignments, he had bills to pay. While on assignment for Fortune Magazine to document the aviation industry in LA, he started shooting friends at bars, bowling tournaments, friends staring off into the Santa Monica coastline. He decided that “none of the pictures were very good” and donated them to the Los Angeles Public Library.
But they were. They were great. This photograph titled “From the long-gone Ocean Park Pier facing North up Santa Monica Beach” was an amazing composition with rhythmic line and gestures.
We were excited to see works in person by Ellen Von Unworth and Roger Ballen. John Baldessari always inspires. His latest print collaboration with Mixografia “Crowds with Shape of Reason Missing: Examples 1-6, 2012” was a series examining the idea of removing the predominant subject of a photographic image and replacing it with an abstract white mass. Baldessari is known for his use of found imagery and working with existing photographs. Here he plays with the positive and negative space and reinvents the way we see a somewhat recognizable image.
Other inspiring booths were the Select Vernacular Photography/Norman Kulkin booth and the Stephen Cohen Gallery. Both focused on vernacular photography.
The definition of vernacular photography is rather problematic, but in its essence it is found photography, anonymous art shot by amateur photographers. You don’t know who the subject is and you don’t know the person behind the camera. It is up to you, the viewer, to create the story behind the photograph. You are the storyteller.
Our favorite collection was featured by Downtown Photoroom Now. Watch out for their future exhibits at their new location at 1933 S. Broadway/The Reef LA.
They highlighted a series by artist Avo Tavitian that focused on the process of analog darkroom printing. In his “Low Light Series” he underexposes negatives, and prints them in varying shades of gray, leaving the content of the actual photograph behind and foregrounding the materiality of the traditional photograph. The seven prints that DPN displayed were called the “Roy Hargrove” series range, after the contemporary jazz trumpeter.
This over and under exposure of the 35mm film spoke more to the process of photography. It was a demonstration in the tonality of photography. The work forced you to stop and look deep into the photograph and witness an image slowly developing. The series as a whole was melodic in its presentation, as if each color tone were a musical note and the seven frames played a sequence that sustained and overlapped upon one another to create a deep minor seventh chord.
Emerging Focus is a competition that new artists enter for a chance to be showcased at Photo LA and introduce themselves and their work to the top level of collectors, curators, dealers, galleries, and enthusiasts in attendance. From the artists showcased at Emerging Focus, a grand, second and third prize is awarded. This year the winners were:
Grand Prize: Supranav Dash, “Street Typist, $12.50 Weekly”
Second Place: Norman Press, “Arcs”
Third Place: Kevin Krupitzer, “The Gift”
Loved the way Arto Saari approached this piece titled “On The Road To Apex”. Arto does some great work and he’s also a professional skateboarder . Follow him on twitter @SenfBaum and tumblr http://artosaari.tumblr.com/
The booth at Your Daily Photograph had a great concept. Subscribe to their mailing list and everyday you will receive an email that offers a handful of photographs for sale for 24 hours at a discounted price. The quality of art they offer is very high, so even if you are not buying, seeing some inspiring art when you wade through your emails every morning is at the very least motivational!
In addition to the thousands of photographs to peruse, Photo LA offers learning opportunities in the form of lectures, panel discussion, & portfolio reviews. Topics covered architectural photography, collecting photographs book publishing, and iPhoneography.
The direction of photography is changing, and it’s influencing the artform. Phoneography is growing and producing some incredibly creative work. We can’t wait to revisit next year, and help represent this exciting burst of creativity with our own booth.