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RANDOM NOTES ON PHOTO L.A. 19 - 2010
by JEAN FERRO
years photo l.a. was another round of eye candy for the soul. Amidst much
confusion and delays, the 19th Annual photo l.a. 2010 (www.photola.com)
came off like the grand event it deserves to be. Stephen
Cohen waved his magic wand
to present photo l.a. at my favorite venue, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.
of the stylistic eye of LaChapelle, I was hoping to see a parade of characters
and maybe the transsexual model Amanda Lepore, but the crowd over the next
few days was more subdued than my fantasy.
Director of the George Eastman House Anthony Bannons collecting seminar was excellent. Bannon favored a broad palette of photographic artistry and the paradigmatic and simulacrum of the various works. One of his favorite prints was Bill Brandts classic Nude, circa 19501959, at The Halsted Gallery.
Photographer Bob Weingarten accompanied us on the tour as we worked our way through the auditorium to visit a host of galleries such as Alex Novaks Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, Hous Projects, Stephen Cohen Gallery, and many others. While at Nazraeli Press, Bannon also brought our attention to one of his favorite books, Michael Kennas, Mont St. Michel.
The Gordon Baldwin collecting seminar on Saturday was a real treat. Ive known Gordon for years, He came to my Hancock Park Salon back in the 90s. Gordon was very particular about what he liked and didnt like.
In the most fun way, Gordon would cast his eyes upon a work, look a bit puzzled, then say not my style and quickly move on, while friend Colin Westerbeck, Director of UC Riverside California Museum of Photography, would interject a view of the photographers history or insight as to why the work prevails in the market. Gordon is currently at work on an exhibition and catalog of John Divola for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, fall of 2011. The whole experience left a smile on my face all weekend. Love the collecting seminars!
As an artist, I was happy to hear both Baldwin and Bannon exclaim their loyalty and dedication to accepting the photographers choice of subject and presentation. Both seemed to favor artists in The Halsted Gallery, Stephen White Associates, and Susan Spiritus Gallery, and had interest in the Phase One of the La Brea Matrix Project. Six art photographers from Germany accepted an invitation to Los Angeles as part of an artist-in-residence program in 2009 and 2010 to search for photographic points of reference to Stephen Shores iconic picture. The project was produced by The Lapis Press and Schaden.com with the support of the Goethe Institut and MAK Center for Art and Architecture. On view was Stephen Shores Beverly Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, California, June 21, 1975.
White, Stephen White Associates, a Los Angeles-based photographic historian
and collector, brought his class from the Skirball Cultural Center Education
Department. In his booth, Stephen had the Edward Steichen image George
Washington Bridge, New York, 1931, gelatin silver print, $90,000.
Puerto Rico, Carlos Mercado, Mercado Art Gallery, presented mixed
media photography and acrylic, mounted on laminated sintra. From Spain, Galeria
Sicart presented the work of Gisela Rafols, Tears, 2009, color
print, 100x66.67 cm. each. One of the largest mixed media pieces Ive seen
at photo l.a. was by Argentinean artist, Nicola Costantino, still life,
2008. In Nude On Table, 184x275 cm., edition of 3 (cerrado) double
image of full view nude, panels open to reveal an interior image of the consumption
of the body and only remnants of bone remain on a platter.
Century Editions SPECIAL OFFERING: The Journal Plate Set, 64 photogravure
books, 74 fully signed prints, hand delivered set, was offered at $400,000.
The Love, Graham Nash, edition of 80 signed and numbered copies (50
for sale), 21 bound, and 9 signed freestanding pigment ink prints, was also on
In contrast, there were the classics. Susan Spiritus Gallery/Newport Beach presented Camille Seaman with her iceberg images from The Last Iceberg Series II, and toy camera favorite and rising star, Susan Burnstine with her signature style of archival pigment, varnished prints. Susan makes her own toy cameras and names her cameras for each project. One of her favorite cameras, James Brown, was accidentally knocked from her hands into the ocean. Susan is represented by both Susan Spiritus and Kevin Longino Fine Photographs/Houston, TX.
Light Work from Syracuse, NY, produces Contact, one of the longest running art photography publications in the world. The non-profit organization started their artist-in-residence program in 1975 and is still going strong today. Mary Goodwin, Light Works Assistant Director, will juror the WomenInPhotography.org current A Decade of Images 20002010 competition.
I had the opportunity to connect with my dear friend and mentor from many years ago, award winning Czech photographer Antonin Kratochvil at the Fotovision booth, the San Francisco Bay area non-profit. Co-Founded by Ken Light, Fotovision was created to support photographers interested on documenting their world. Photographer Colin Finlay joined Antonin and me and announced he was going to Haiti in less than 10 days. Antonin, who covered Afghanistan and Iraq, reminded him to take every safety precaution including a protective jacket: One can lose their life too easily when people are hungry and scared, Kratochvil warned.
While standing by the Fotovision booth, one of their past volunteers arrived carrying a large, signed poster print from the David LaChapelle: Reflections on Photography seminar raffle: a Michael Jackson digitally-enhanced Jackson look-a-like as an archangel standing atop a red devil. Inspired by Mexican saint cards, the image was first published on the September 2009 cover of the London Sunday Times Magazine.
I enjoyed the Smith Andersen North collections of Ruth Bernhard, Judy Dater, and Imogen Cunningham, and the Scott Nichols Gallery from San Francisco with their beautiful collection of prints.
Although photo l.a. was half the size of last year, it seemed fuller and more interesting. Maybe that was because one had the chance to digest the work and become more familiar with the differences each gallery brought to the show.
Carol McCusker, Curator, Museum of Photographic Art, San Diego; Karen Sinsheimer, Curator, Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Virginia Heckert, Associate Curator, J. Paul Getty Museum; Consultant Mary Virginia Swanson; Anthony Bannon, Director George Eastman House; photo editors; photographer representatives; publishers; and gallery owners were among the reviewers. I can see why this program sells out almost immediately.
I was particularly interested in box set prints this year. Since most of my work is more experimental, I rarely did multiple prints. Im planning to venture out there in 2010 with a limited edition, Jean Ferro 1st self-portrait pigment print collection, produced by the Box Set Gallery/Santa Fe and printed by Rush Creek Editions.With this new career move, it was good to see vintage work has a healthy value, and pigment prints, edging up and becoming more collectible especially in color.
an economy that encourages one to put the Think Twice Hat on, the
35-plus galleries were a perfect mix of vintage, traditional, and very contemporary
work. And there were amazing deals it was definitely a buyers market.
Dealers and collectors will most likely look forward to next years 20th
For a list of gallery links and listings, see www.photola.com
a subscription to The Photographic Collector see
Photograph Collector: photo l.a. 16- 2007