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Random Notes on photo la 18 - 2009 by Jean Ferro
booths were filled with vintage works by Carlton E. Watkins, Steichen,
Stieglitz, Ruth Bernhard, Eve Arnold, Man Ray, and Lou Stoumen at galleries such
as Barry Singer, Michael Dawson, Richard Moore, Gitterman Gallery and
others to large scale photographs at Ace Gallery from Tierney Gearon and
Orlan. Artist Maggie Taylors work was very visible.
There were estate authorized reproduction portraits by Hurrell at Clarke Gallery. When you first entered the hanger you were greeted with video creations by Raul Vincent Enriquez. Throw in some vernacular dealers, add in Joel-Peter Witkin at 21st Editions and youre entrenched in the A to Z of collecting photography under one roof.
You can count on Peter Fetterman to have his signature red walls. They looked great with white-matted, black-framed images by Lillian Bassman, Sebastião Salgado, and others. He had an image of Barack Obama by Peter Turnley.
I took a wonderful photograph of Peter with photographer Herman Leonard. Nice to see familiar faces, Jiri Jaskmanicky of The Czech Center of Photography from the Czech Republic. Theyve been coming to photo l.a. since its debut at Butterfields in 1998. One of the most legendary is The Halsted Gallery, noted as the oldest continuing photographic gallery in the USA. Tom Halsted opened his gallery in a two-story house in 1969 in Birmingham, Michigan, with an exhibit of Berenice Abbott.
The John Cleary Gallery of Houston, Texas, is now handled by Catherine Couturier who worked closely with John in the past and continues to handle images spanning from contemporary to classics, along with photo books.
The LACMA lecture and book signing series was presented by Charlotte Cotton, Curator and Head of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department. I attended three of the conversation-styled interviews, including the Diane KeatonMarvin Heiferman book project Bill Woods Business and Bruce Davidson and Susan Meiselas.
To the delight of the attendees, Davidson and Meiselas provided insights into their adventurous careers with Magnum. (On a personal note, my first photo mentor was Don Peterson (19481982) a freelance Magnum photographer in Vietnam.) Meiselas has accomplished a stunning body of work over the years. Davidson embraced Meiselas, who has been honored for her Carnival Strippers and Nicaragua projects. At the Verso Editions booth they had the Bruce Davidson Central Park in Platinum limited edition signed books.
Performance artist Tiffany Trenda fascinated attendees with her live reflective video performance from inside a life-sized Kodak Brownie Box camera. As spectators peered into the camera lens, their movements were reflected back to them on a TV monitor that was positioned on the shoulders of Trenda. The performance was intended to simulate the human psyche inside the digital world.
Collector Michael Wilson visited the LACMA conversation program and was busy scurrying around to the galleries. I saw collectors with wallets open and (excellent work on the walls in Alex Novaks Contemporary Works/Vintage Works gallery (e)
Out of the three collecting seminars listed Karen Sinsheimer, Charlotte Cotton, and Jonathan Green I took the Saturday collecting seminar with Karen Sinsheimer, Curator of Photography, Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Its really a great way to see the work before it becomes shielded by large crowds moving through the isles. Karen talked about collecting strategies and artist presentations. The Gary Edwards Gallery, Washington, D.C., salt print collection was really striking. Sinsheimer with her keen eye, led the patrons of art to the galleries that displayed photographic styles they were seeking. It was great to visit with MaryAnn Charis, House of Photographic Art, San Juan Capistrano, and her photographer husband Phillip Charis at the seminar.
Another newcomer to photo l.a. 2009 was the Blind Photographers Guild. It was unusual and very interesting to see how their passion to create becomes greater than the image itself and yet the work is a reflection of persistence and accomplishment against all odds.
The book booths D.A.P, Bondi Books, Schaden Books, Nazraelli Press, Modernbook (which also has a gallery), Simon Finch rare books, LEADAPRON were crowded with eager buyers. Everyone lined up for the book signings over the three days with notables Jona Frank/DNJ Gallery, Jill Greenberg/ClampArt, Catherine Opie/D.A.P., Arthur Tress/Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, Joel-Peter Witkin/21st Editions, Jock Sturges/Bernarducci Meisel Gallery, Jeffrey Ladd /Errata Books, Ken Schles, A New History of Photography, and Bertrand Fleuret,
Land Masses and Railways.
This year I had my ducks-in-a-row and was ready to canvas everything. It would take at least a solid week or more to really comprehend the full extent of what photo l.a. 2009 had to offer, including the portfolio review exhibition held at the Santa Monica Double Tree Hotel. Its a pleasure for photographers and collectors to return year after year to revisit the classics as well as scope out the new and emerging artists and galleries.
Jean Ferro is a photo artist and President of Women In Photography International (www.womeninphotography.org); www.jeanferro.com.
All photographs ©Jean Ferro 2009
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