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Paris Photo: The Greatest Photography Fair In The World
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Paris Photo: The Greatest Photography Fair In The World

Picture of Andrew Kingsford-Smith
Updated: 27 January 2016
Renowned as one of the world’s most acclaimed photography fairs, Paris Photo is a yearly international event that centres on the art of photography. With the 2013 event taking place from the 14th to the 17th of November 2013 in Paris’ stunning Grand Palais, we investigate the history and programme of this iconic and influential institution.

Founded in 1996, Paris Photo has grown into one of the most influential photography events in the world. Originally taking place in the Carrousel du Louvre, 2011 saw the event move to its new location at the Grand Palais, where it is still held. A pivotal event that unites ‘artists, galleries, collectors, professionals, enthusiasts and inquisitive minds,’ the fair sees the industry’s most acclaimed figures and organisations come together in an vast programme of events and exhibitions which connect and inspire both professionals and amateurs.

One of the greatest aspects of this festival is its focus on the wide scope of the medium, demonstrated through its jam-packed schedule. From awards to exhibitions, and focusing on everything from photo book publishers to specific photography genres, the programme of events highlights the captivating diversity of photo making. In a section called ‘Private Collection’, Paris Photo highlights the crucial position private collectors play in the industry of photography, and the 2013 event will shine a light on contemporary art collector Harald Falckenberg and his impressive selection of masterpieces, emphasising his perspective and influence on the medium. ‘Recent Acquisitions’ is another exciting affair, presenting new photography collections from three significant international institutions – in 2013 this includes Brazil’s Instituto Moreira Salles, Canada’s Art Gallery of Ontario and Germany’s Museum Folkwang – revealing the diversity of the organisations, as well as the works of renowned practitioners and photographers who are just beginning to gain their deserved recognition.

Paris Photo 2012 - Marc Domage
Paris Photo 2012 | Photo © Marc Domage

Not only analysing the present of the medium, the Paris Photo ‘Platform’ looks to the future of this artistic channel. An experimental forum of discussions, debates and presentations, this event will explore key questions about the medium, scrutinising contexts, methods and relationships. Organised by Nicolas Bourriaud, director of the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, the three topics that will feature in the 2013 fair include ‘photography and travel’, ‘photo montages’ and ‘photography and painting’. Photo books are another aspect of the industry that is celebrated at the Grand Palais. Inviting dozens of photo books publishers to present the work, the fair represents a fantastic opportunity to discover new favourites. On top of this, awards are given out to the best photo book of the year, as well as stand out debut texts. Beyond these distinct events, the fair will also be filled with exhibitions from 130 French and international galleries, further marvelling visitors and providing unrivalled networking opportunities.

Paris Photo 2012 | Photo © Marc Domage
Paris Photo 2012 | Photo © Marc Domage

Outside of this four day photography extravaganza, Photo Paris holds a number of compelling programmes throughout the year. 2013 saw the organisation hold their first American Fair in Los Angeles, taking over Paramount Studios and attracting a crowd of more than 13,500 visitors. Taking place in April, the event offered a diverse itinerary like its Parisian sibling, and held a particular focus on ‘sound and vision’, exploring the relationship between photography and filmmaking. Also inaugurated in April was their online ‘Agenda’ site. On this new website Photo Paris lists the exhibition details of some of the world’s greatest photography galleries, as well as publish other news from exhibitors and partner organisations. A great fantastic resource for anyone travelling or interested in the international art scene, Agenda once again proves Paris Photo’s commitment to the industry.

Paris Photo is an iconic organisation that has been exploring all aspects of the relatively new art form of photography. If travelling to Paris, the November fair at the Grand Palais is an absolute must for all photography fanatics. However for all those unable to attend, Paris Photo Agenda is a great resource to keep up to speed with the latest photography news around the world.