The prestigious Paris Photo returns for its 24th edition with a focus on emerging photographers and female artists

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It is the first year the fair will host events at its new venue near the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais Éphémère

“Paris Photo has developed in tandem with the photographic medium,” the prestigious fair’s director, Florence Bourgeois, explains. Since the event’s first iteration in 1997, photography has shifted, with “a higher international recognition, and a greater share of the art market”. Photography now sits among other artistic, storytelling mediums, a change made apparent through the growing popularity of photography exhibitions over the last quarter of a century. Paris Photo has been a constant through this change, an institution with an ear to the ground. “The fair has a continually exciting programme,” Bourgeois says. “There are more and more opportunities to share, discover and debate the medium.”

Composed of three sectors, the international photofair, which runs from 11 to 14 November, finds a new albeit temporary location in the Grand Palais Éphémère, a building situated along the Champs-de-Mars. Its characteristic “dramatically curved” roof is supported by a structure made from the wood of “sustainably managed forests”, writes Anna Sansom for Artnet. The regular venue, the Grand Palais, is undergoing renovations for the next three years in preparation for the Paris Olympics in 2024. “I’m excited to reconnect with the international community in our new home,” Bourgeois states. “The fair has always been a place of artistic exchange.”

The Lovers II by Zineb Sedira © ACS Zineb Sedira. Courtesy of the artist and kamel mennour, Paris, London
Omar Victor Diop, Allegoria 1, 2021 © Omar Victor Diop. MAGNIN-A
Grand Palais Éphémère

The main sector presents works collected by 131 international galleries, while the book sector offers new projects by 30 publishers and booksellers including Akio Nagasawa, Gost, Loose Joints and Radius. Many of these will be hosting artist signings and talks at their booths, while awaiting the much-anticipated announcement of the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards. 

The Curiosa sector, curated by Photoworks director Shoair Mavlian, is dedicated to emerging artists. This year it will feature solo presentations by 20 photographers from 14 countries, including Maisie Cousins, John Yuyi, and Jošt Dolinšek. “It is important to present galleries that work with young and emerging artists; galleries which provide accessible opportunities,” Bourgeois explains. “For many [showing their work at] Curiosa is their first time participating at a major art fair. It is a chance for our visitors to discover new artists, but it also allows for a reflection on current collective photographic concerns, such as identity, the natural environment and new documentary practices.”

In addition to the booth displays, there will be the usual flurry of solo and group shows. The Paris-based gallery Karsten Greve presents the European ventures of photographer Herbert List, while Magnin-A shows politically charged portraits created by Omar Victor Diop. Gagosian gallery unveils a unique collection of Cy Twombly’s work, and Gregory Leroy & Charles Isaacs Gallery shares documentations of Mexico’s LQBTQ+ movement in the 1980s, shot by Yolanda Andrade.

CY TWOMBLY, Roses (Gaeta), 2004 Fondazione Nicola Del Roscio.. GAGOSIAN

“By encouraging galleries to present more women artists – and in turn encouraging institutions to collect them – we are attempting to progress the artistic ecosystem.”

Louise Bourgeois

Elles x Paris Photo returns, a collaborative event that highlights the work of 30 women artists. Each entry was selected from gallery proposals by curator Nathalie Herschdorfer, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Le Locle, Switzerland. Created in partnership with the French Ministry of Culture, the programme promotes greater visibility for female photographers, with the Centre National des Arts Plastique (CNAP) promising to purchase more than 10 works for their public collection. Bourgeois describes this as a “balancing”, an act which is reflected through the fair’s commitment to improve female representation. “By encouraging galleries to present more women artists – and in turn encouraging institutions to collect them – we are attempting to progress the artistic ecosystem,” she says.  

Paris Photo runs from 11 to 14 November 2021 at the Grand Palais Éphémère. Head to the website for more information

Isaac Huxtable

Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Photography in October 2020, where he is currently the Editorial Assistant. Prior to this, he studied a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.