It’s that time of year again, when art lovers flock to one of the world’s cultural capitals: Paris. Held at the Grand Palais, the annual Paris Photo festival runs from November 13th to 16th, playing host to no less than 143 galleries and 26 publishers. Its exhibitions will focus upon photography’s relationship with books, films and collectors, as well as displaying some of the most influential contemporary artists. Très chic…

©Olivo Barbieri, Alps- Geographies and People #2
One of the themes is the influence of publishing upon the photography world. Since the 1960s, artbooks have become the medium of choice for many photographers. The festival’s Open Book exhibition explores this trend, presenting a selection of works published over the last fifty years. The exhibition features publications by Mike Kelley, Anselm Kiefer, John Baldessari, and countless others. The festival also celebrates contemporary artbooks, with the Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards. The short list includes: Marrakech, by Daido Moriyama; Rich and Poor, by Jim Goldberg; and Silent Histories, by Kazuma Obara. 

©John Baldessari, Brutus Killed Caesar

The Alkazi Collection features pieces amassed by Ebrahim Alkazi, one of India’s most influential theatre directors and artistic patrons. His ninety-thousand strong collection of nineteenth and twentieth century photographic prints are usually kept in the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, in New Delhi. The sample shown at Paris Photo highlights the importance of private collectors in curating collections. 

©A Lady on the couch with a telephone, Commercial Photographer

The Paris Photo festival also contains exhibitions focusing upon specific artists. One of the colourful offerings is ‘Wild Style’, by Mazaccio and Drowilal, winners of the 2013 BMW residency at the Musée Nicéphore Niepce. These studies of animals and cultural symbols channel anthropology and iconography. ‘Wild Style’ comments upon the commoditization of animals with a sense of humour, drawing upon kitsch t-shirts, garden décor and personalized mugs, with a soppy 1990s twist. 

©Mazaccio & Drowilal, Le meilleur ami du chien (She's Out Of My Life)

The festival pays homage to cinema with ‘Silenzio!’- a series taken by François Fontaine. ‘Silenzio!’ takes the viewer on a nostalgic journey of film, from the 1940s to the present day. It explores the way in which cinematic scenes have shaped our culture, blending memory, dreams and fantasy. 

© Francois Fontaine, Brigitte Bardot


The Paris Photo festival returns this year, exploring the links between photography and the cultural world at large. The festival charts photography’s relationship with traditional media, whilst exhibitions such as ‘Wild Style’ comment upon commoditization within the arts. If you already have plans to attend, we are sure you’re in for a treat; if not, you may want to start checking out the Eurostar website…