I have just returned from nofound photo fair in Paris at which Source had taken a space to promote the magazine. The fair is predominantly made up of French Galleries with a few others from further afield and a smaller selection of publishers to mix it up a bit. I spoke to Emeric Glayse one of the founders of the Fair, which is now in its second year, to find out more about it.
The event actually builds on a 2010 event called 'Access and Paradox' which had a broader Contemporary Art remit. The fair's four organisers have a background in Contemporary Art, Art History, Artist's Representation and Event Production. They identified the location for the fair, a former parking garage, after spotting it being used as a venue during Paris fashion week.
Having worked with a number of younger photography galleries over the years, the organisers were accutely aware of the problems involved in bringing new artists to market. Producing their own Photo Fair seemed a good way to address that issue. Having decided that they wanted to run a photography focused event, the weekend of Paris Photo was the obvious date - thereby capitalising on the wave of international photo community visitors and the hype around photography in Paris that it generates. The organisers first identify the work of Artists that they find interesting, they then approach the Artist's gallery to see if they would be interested in taking part in the Fair. This also opens up a dialogue about other artists the Gallery represents and whether they would also be relevant. The Fair is also open to direct applications from galleries and publishers.
There have been some tentative talks about combining forces with Off Print (which takes place on the same weekend) but finding a large enough space at the right price in central Paris remains a stumbling block, so for the moment both events will remain separate. For Source, nofound proved a good opportunity to promote and sell the magazine directly to an international audience, renew some old contacts and to make some new ones. Many of the familiar faces were acquaintances from our days at the coalface of portfolio reviews at Rhubarb in Birmingham (sadly inactive at the moment).
Louise Clements from Quad was still on the road, on her never ending research work (after stop-offs in India, Pakistan and Korea). Preparations for Format Festival, (of which she is Artistic Director) at Quad and other venues in Derby in March are well underway, with this year's theme being 'Factory and Mass Production'. Chuck Samuels - Director of Le Mois De La Photo in Montreal - revealed that Paul Wombell, (ex curator of The Photographers' Gallery), had just been appointed curator of the festival for 2013 on the theme of 'Drone: The Automated Image'. He stressed the importance of letting their curators work each festival without interference, to realize their particular vision.
Chris Shaw, who appeared on the front cover of issue 37, was fresh from his book signing at Paris Photo. His new publication Before And After Night Porter is published by Kehrer and is funded by The Wilson Centre of Photography. Chris had just found out that the Tate had purchased a set of prints of his work Weeds of Wallasey and that through an Estate donation they also now have a set of prints of Night Porter. Irish Photography collector David Kronn (who is working with the Irish Museum of Modern Art on a new show of his collection for 2014) was paying a visit from his home in New York. Maureen O'Sullivan, who used to work with Charlotte Cotton in LA, was at the Fair as part of her work arranging collector's tours. Agnes B. (fashion mogul and founder of Galerie Du Jour) made enquires about stocking Source in their gallery bookshop. Emanuela Mirabelli (Photo Editor at Mari Claire in Milan) picked up on our article on 'Photo Books that Made Me' prompting a purchase of back issue 67.
Nadya Sheremetova (Director of FotoDepartment in Moscow) had viewed Source's short films on Conceptual Photography. She lamented the state of Photography education in Moscow outside of the Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia. I was able to point her towards our latest issue on Photography Education. The subject of Photography Education also came up with a number of visitors. Shinya Ichikawa who had been making some new work in Ireland, thought that Japan had a particular obsession with the technical aspects of photography because of its history of camera manufacturing. Nikola Mihov, who has initiated a new photography resource in Bulgaria (situated above a photography printer's) which includes a reading room and technical facilities, gave a Bulgarian perspective. During the communist era the only non-native photography that made it into the country was the International camera club fraternity. Those who had been involved in that scene in Bulgaria now dominated teaching. His own book on Communist era monuments has just been published by Janet 45.
I spoke to a group of University of Ulster MFA Photography students, who reported a packed audience for the Alec Soth talk at Paris Photo (the students were eagerly anticipating the David Lynch talk - also at Paris Photo). On my own brief break from the Source stand I spotted photography's very own celebrity Martin Parr sweeping into the Grand Palais, complete with entourage, ahead of his book signing.
Back at the Source stand again, in a moment that would have inspired a team of audience development officers, I spotted a father and his two children discussing, at great length, the details of Yannik Willing's work Before Tomorrow, which was part of the Photo Levallois Festival space. Their mother offered me an explanation of the children's love of images, which had seemingly grown out of an early fascination with a Japanese - to - English dictionary and the creation of their own art and non-art assemblages. Surely an indication of the intimate relationship bewteen interpretation and the creation of images?
(Source's participation at Nofound was made possible with support from The British Council. )