Within the canon of art history, I consider these three moments to be the most influential:
The first is the art capital moving from Paris to New York. During WWII, Hitler’s Germany occupied France, and this hugely impacted the art world. The capital of art had to find a new home, and it was across the Atlantic in New York.
The second is the 19th-century impressionists from Claude Monet to Pierre-Auguste Renoir. These artists changed the foundation of the art world; they weren’t prisoners of realism; they experimented, and they took that bold step and said, “No! This is what art can be.”
The final moment, and it is by far not the least, is the invention of the camera; the camera changed everything, it gave mankind the ability to capture a moment.
If we look at how the camera has evolved, there’s a rich and humble history. From the daguerreotype camera by Louis Daguerre to the medium format cameras such as Hasselblad to the 35mm cameras! I mean, for Christ’s sake, we have phones with cameras!
The camera has impacted the art world, and we can’t ignore that, and we can’t ignore fairs such as The Photography Show by AIPAD.
As a film photographer, I felt compelled to attend this fair, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been to many art fairs, but not a fair dedicated to photography. I felt anxious but good anxious, and after I settled in, I was impressed. In total, 49 galleries exhibited work, and I would say my best booths were Ibasho, Obscura Gallery and Utópica.
Starting with Ibasho, they showed works by Casper Fassen. Photography meets painting mixed with an element of delicacy is how I would describe Casper Fassen’s work. Her subjects in her images are translucent, and this creates an ethereal scene. If you look even closer, there’s an element of decay in the work too.
Another photographer shown by the gallery was Mika Horie. Laborious and meticulous, everything is handmade with Horie’s work. A truly intensive process which leads to the final images having various shades of cyan and indigo.
Next is Obscura Gallery, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and they showed works by Rashod Taylor and Angie Brockey. Taylor’s work was a personal highlight; examining race, culture and legacy, Taylor’s work acts as a window into his family, in particular, his son’s life as he navigates 21st century America. His photography captures his son’s innocence, and it is a striking reminder that black children are children, and like any child, they deserve their innocence.
With regards to Angie Brockey, her work is created using the wet collodion process – a technique dating back to the 19th century. Brockey’s work is an embodiment of her memories and her life, it is something that allows her to celebrate the pure experience of simply existing.
Lastly, Utópica, based in São Paulo, Brazil, they showed works by Celso Brandão.
Brandão’s work captures daily life in Northeast Brazil. What I love about his work is the use of traditional carnival masks. In images 1 and 2, there’s a juxtaposition between the carnival mask and contemporary clothes.
Some other standout photographers were Baldwin Lee, Elliot Erwitt, and the late Gordon Parks.
Baldwin Lee uses his photography to capture life in Black America in the south. In a time when the Reagan administration was in full effect, Lee used his skills to capture everything, from the joys to the lows.
Elliott Erwitt is an execution mastermind – everything is captured at the right time. His work is dynamic and vibrant in composition.
The late Gordon Parks is a photographer I recently discovered, and when I learned about his story as a self-taught artist and the journey he went on capturing Black America pre-civil rights era, I had to get his photography book, The New Tide. So seeing his work in person was a bonus.
So, final thoughts? This was a very fun fair, and out of the fairs I saw in New York this takes the top spot – I felt a spectrum of emotions. My photography eye has been impacted; I saw certain compositions and said to myself, “I might bring this into my photography.” So, if you’re ever in New York during Frieze Week, don’t miss out on The Photography Show by AIPAD!
Photo credit: Featured Image by Martijn Van Pieterson (Ibasho Gallery’s installation at The Photography Show by AIPAD 2022)