Photo L.A. – From vintage to nouveau

[Story and photos by Franceasca Seiden]

Photo LA kicked off its 21st year at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium last week benefiting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Wallis Annenberg photography department.  Keep reading for full recap and photos.

Opening night kicked off a preview gala hosted by electronic musician Moby, who also exhibited his work, and guest dj, KCRW’s own Aaron Byrd. The four day event included a series of lectures like Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before, panels such as The Photography Book Roundtable and speakers like Ken Gonzalez – Day.

The exhibit consisted of roughly sixty galleries, installations and salons (made up of sponsors and media outlets).  Galleries represented globally as well as locally from LA, NYC, Portland, South Africa, Berlin Paris, Miami, Santa Fe  and Australia. With the who’s who of the art and photography world, one person who can’t go unrecognized is long time director of Photo LA, Stephen Cohen, owner of Stephen Cohen Gallery on Beverly Boulevard.  Cohen and his team have been the front runners of art shows in LA for a period of years and should be recognized for their dedication in putting together such an event.

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[A taste of the photos on display at Photo-LA.]

Photo LA is truly a special show for photographers and photography lovers. Spanning through the generations of the digital “nouveau” through the “analog” vintage days of photography, where formats both large and small consistent of covering yourself beneath a cloth while actually looking through a viewfinder at your image.

The beauty in the medium of photography is that it captures exact moments of history; politics, Hollywood, as well as our own personal sentimental images that we can share with the ones we love, and which we carry with us for rest of our lives. Those images represent places in time that we physically couldn’t be present at ; they document changes in ideals, ethics and morals, they give us the capability to see iconic figures of the past, and most importantly, photography opens our eyes to the possibilities that life has to offer.

This exhibit nurtures up-and-coming talent by exposing them to gallerists and collectors alike. Young collectors understand that the fresh faces of today will be the Henri Cartier-Bresson of tomorrow. Expect Photo LA to take place around the same time next year.