Europe’s Biggest Photo Art Fair Returns

8 November 2018

Paris Photo Fair has opened its doors to the public and this year it has a new section devoted to erotic photography, and a tour focusing on the work of female photographers.

Alongside the usual talks, exhibitions and events, a new themed section named ‘Curiosa’ will show a selection of 14 projects focusing on the body, gender and eroticism in photography.

Curated by Martha Kirszenbaum, curator of the French Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, ‘Curiosa’ will bring together intimate images by 13 artists including Nobuyoshi Araki, JoAnn Callis, and Antoine d’Agata.  It hopes to challenge the viewer’s gaze on the fetishised body, and tackle “relations of power, domination, and gender issues”.

‘Before long travel, August 23’ (1972) by Rachel Monosov and Admire Kamudzengerere, courtesy Catinca Tabacaru Gallery

Meanwhile,‘Elles x Paris Photo’ will retrace the history of photography through its often invisible female pioneers, whose names have been left absent from many of the city’s museums.

First taking visitors though the glass-vaulted halls of the Grand Palais, Paris Photo’s central hub on the Champs Elysee, it moves on to the main venue’s historic sister gallery, the Petit Palais and through specialist photography and contemporary art museums, Photo Saint Germain, Jeu de Paume, and Fondation Cartier.

‘Last VIII’ (2009) by Agnès Geoffray, courtesy of Galerie Mauber

Each will show works by women photographers, who, curators say, deserve to be rediscovered or better known by the public.

The around 100 images range from the early 20th century, including the works of Margaret Watkins, one of the first women commercial photographers, through the radical feminists of the 1960s to 1980s, such as Arlene Gottfried, Renate Bertlmann and Joan Lyons, and on to under-recognised contemporary artists.

‘Presences 1’ (1980) by Joan Lyons, courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery

Returning for its 22nd edition , Paris Photo is bringing together nearly 200 exhibitors and showing the works of nearly 900 photographic artists.   In addition to the Curiosa section, the fair will be divided into four other sectors – the Main sector, in which galleries have been encouraged to bring shows of one or two photographers; the Prisms sector, which gathers galleries showcasing large-format series and installation projects; and the Book sector, which brings together specialist publishers and art book dealers, and which will be home to about 300 book-signing events.

To find out more, check out the Paris Photo website.

‘Women strike for equal wages’ (Belgium, 1966) by Janine Niépce, courtesy of Polka Galerie / Roger-Viollet


‘Persimmon, The unknown’ (2018) by Andrea Torres Balaguer


‘Midwest Materials’ (2018) by Julie Blackmon, courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery

Featured image: ‘Le Hamac’, 1976, by Martine Franck, a Belgian documentary and portrait photographer.  She was a member of Magnum Photos for over 32 years and married to Henri Cartier-Bresson.