Paris Photo Brightens the City of Light

Numerous cities hold photography fairs and festivals, but none do it as well as the City of Light. Back for its 13th edition, Paris Photo takes over the Carrousel du Louvre to present 19th-century, modern, and contemporary photography by 102 exhibitors, including 89 galleries and 13 publishers from 23 countries. With special exhibitions of Arab and Iranian photography, the BMW Prize for the best artist represented by a gallery at the fair, and a spotlight on young talent, Paris Photo offers the opportunity to explore a common history and photography now.

Highlights in the Arab and Iranian exhibition, which is organized by Documenta X curator Catherine David, include Jalal Sephr images exploring the surreal relationship between water and Persian rugs at Paris’ Galerie Esther Woerdehoff; New York’s Edwynn Houk Gallery’s presentation of a solo show of Lalla Essaydi’s photographs of Arab women covered in calligraphy; and Yto Barrada’s slide show at Paris’ Galerie Polaris of archival imagery with her recent photographs of Arab families in exile. Also on view is the Arab Image Foundation collection, which features studio photography from the Arab world between the 1870s and 1960s.

    Andrew Moore, American Gothic, Detroit, Michigan, 2008Courtesy Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York
View a slideshow of images from Paris Photo now »

Beyond the Arab scene, New York’s Yancey Richardson Gallery brings three photographers — Sharon Core, Hellen van Meene, and Andrew Moore — who blur the boundaries between painting and photography; Madrid’s La Fabrica Galeria features work from Rineke Dijkstra’s Park Portraits series, which focuses on teenagers hanging out in urban nature; and Johannesburg’s Goodman Gallery presents Jodi Bieber’s examination of ordinary South African women’s bodies, flaws and all.

Meanwhile, 20 artists, including Elinor Carucci, Teun Hocks, and Barbara Probst, were short-listed for the BMW-Paris Photo Prize, which went to Dutch photographer Karijn Kakebeeke for her image of a young Afghan woman expressing her joy of being a member of the first women’s soccer team in her country. At the award ceremony, jury member Matthias Harder, curator at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin, commented: “This image by Karijn Kakebeeke offers a glimmer of hope for a future in which it has become possible, in a country like Afghanistan, to establish a female football league, and where women are starting to gain a few more basic rights. The prize-winning image shows a glimpse of happiness.”

Photography has the ability to show all sides of humanity, which makes events like Paris Photo all the more meaningful.

Paris Photo is open to the public November 19 through November 22.