Category Archives: Fine Art

Fine Art

Displaced History and the Art of Collective Memory

Somewhere in Switzerland there’s a municipal archive, the collective memory of a town, with negatives and newspapers and postcards and photographs that tell the story of the area from 1880–1940. It’s the collective paper memory of the place, including a picture of four children who might not have grown into respected elders, a picture of a priest who may have performed important rituals in the town, a picture of a young woman whose face you might recognize—if the town’s memories are your own.

On the other hand, for photographer Nicolas Dhervillers, who spent only six months residing in Sion, the people in those images were more like characters in a play he would write. Acting the parts to which the photographer assigned them, they appear throughout a series called My Sentimental Archives which will be exhibited at Galérie Bacqueville in Lille, France through Nov. 20. In a meditation on appropriation, each photograph is a two-in-one. Dhervillers’ landscape photography from the area was subjected to a digital process adapted from the cinematic “day for night” technique, lending an eerie look to pictures taken in broad daylight; the archival figures are placed within those landscapes and washed with the unnatural digital light.

“It was very important to find a technique that gives an impression of being ‘outside time,’” Dhervillers told TIME in an email. “Thus, it’s not about a simple photograph but rather a photograph that mixes different mediums that I particularly like: theater for the positions and attitudes of the characters, movies for the light, photography for the idea of controlling the framework, painting for the final rendering.”

Each figure from the archives—small, dusty, black and white people—has been carefully restored by Dhervillers. And, in the process of restoration, the photographer says he felt that the images raised a spiritual question: can we create a present, a now, out of the scraps of the past? “The appropriation of the collective memory, of photographic memory, overlaps with the desire to question a picture in a larger sense,” he said. “This series takes us into a fictional space outside of time, through the photographic processing.”

Dhervillers has worked with appropriated figures before; his series Tourists uses images taken from the internet. But in this case, in the end, his questions about photographic appropriation took on another dimension: the archives from which Dhervillers took the figures did, in a way, become “his.” Even if he didn’t share the town’s history, he felt he knew its inhabitants well. “I spent a lot of time with these little characters,” he said. “I raised them, I colorized them, I gave them life.”

This interview has been translated from French.


Nicolas Dhervillers is a Paris-based photographer represented by School Gallery/Olivier Castaing in Paris.

Street View and Beyond: Google’s Influence on Photography

When Google Street View started as an experiment in 2007, the company sent SUVs equipped with cameras, GPS and lasers to collect its first pictures. The idea of capturing images of the entire world from the perspective of the street was revolutionary, if not a little insane. Now, five years later, Google has recorded 360-degree photographs of streets in more than 3,000 cities in 43 countries around the world. Google Street View cars—along with snowmobiles, giant tricycles and Trekkers–have covered more than five million unique miles of road since the project began, making tens of millions of still images in even the most far off places on the map, such as Antarctica.

The massive and growing archive has spawned a virtual world of images like we’ve never seen before in the history of photography—and its accessibility has inspired a new generation of photographers who are using the tool to document the world while simultaneously redefining the boundaries, quite literally, of contemporary art photography.

While critics bemoan the trend of artists using Google imagery in their works, the artistic appropriation of photos is as old as photography itself, employed by everyone from the Surrealists to the post-modern Pictures Generation of the late 1970s.  Google’s Street View images aren’t a commentary on the world, but are surveillance photos taken for the practical purposes of just showing us places we may not be able to visit. The machines and cameras used to collect them have no discretion, much less artistic influence. Through meticulous research, framing, grabbing and reformatting, photographers themselves are assigning photos artistic value, in much the same way they do when  shooting, toning or retouching a raw file or an analogue negative. “In its raw form, satellite imagery can be quite dull,” says Mishka Henner, an artist who often works with Google’s images. “Cropping, adjusting, and forming a body of work out of them completely transforms these images into something that can be beautiful, terrifying and also insightful. If the internet remains free and open, I’m confident that in ten years photographic work like this will be as prevalent as imagery produced by hand-held cameras.”

Paul J. Richards—AFP/Getty Images

The Google street view mapping and camera car is seen as it charts the streets of Washington, DC, on June 7, 2011.

At this point, all the Street View images are created by a human-operated Google cars with a spherical camera affixed to the top. The device looks like an all-seeing eye that has nine directional cameras for 360° views at a height of about 2.5 meters. The new high-resolution replica of the world that Google provides is every voyeur’s dream—one can virtually visit an endless variety of places from the comforts of one’s own home.

In the catalogue to the show Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera since 1870, editor and curator Sandra Phillips compared the biblical story about elders spying on Susannah to present day, saying: “Today, however they would use cell phones to grab a picture of a young woman in a compromised position and send it to friends, having located her garden through Google Earth. Human hunger for seeing the forbidden has not changed. The technologies to facilitate it have.”

And she’s right—this technology has been adapted quickly by artists and devoured by the art world. Doug Rickard used Google Street View to see the back roads of the nation in a series called A New American Picture, which was featured at New York City’s MoMA last year and is currently on view at Yossi Milo Gallery. Geoff Dyer wrote extensively in the Guardian about Rickard, saying: “Any doubts as to the artistic – rather than ethical or conceptual – merits of this new way of working were definitively settled by Rickard’s pictures. It was William Eggleston who coined the phrase “photographing democratically” but Rickard has used Google’s indiscriminate omniscience to radically extend this enterprise – technologically, politically and aesthetically.”

Rickard says he probably made 10,000 images of this work before narrowing the selection down to just under 80 images. “The only difference [between this work and traditional street photography] is that the world’s frozen, so you’re limited to that surrounding,” he says. “You’ve got a fixed lens and your distance is determined by the width of the street, not where you walk. But there’s a lot in kinship with traditional photography that was really partly responsible for me being able to embed 1,000 hours into this in four years.”

Jon Rafman’s project 9-Eyes captures uncanny images of reality and provides a case study on the unrelentingly objective aesthetic that comes from Google Street View. ”The potential sentimentality of these photographs is counteracted by the manner in which they were captured,” he says. “There is a tension between the indifferent robotic camera, and the human gaze that sees meaning and interprets narratives in these images. That tension is the essence of the project. People often say that technology is changing our perception of the world, changing our perception of reality, but I think that the inverse is also occurring—a technology becomes successful because it taps into something fundamental about contemporary consciousness, it expresses how we are already experiencing the world.”

Some artists, however, are looking at another aspect unique to the use of Google imagery. Clement Valla, through his project, Postcards from Google Earth, is finding the glitches and bugs unintentionally captured by Google Earth’s lens and documenting them to comment on the mistakes resulting from technology’s limitations. “Because Google Earth is continuously updating, there’s kind of no archive of these particular moments or situations,” he says. “So I thought it would be interesting to take them and print them as postcards.”

The prevalence of Google’s imagery and technology is already permeating the aesthetic of more traditional photography and even artists working in myriad disciplines from sculpture to street art. Manuel Vazquez still begins his process with taking his own pictures but later intergrates the aesthetic of surveillance imagery and Google Street View, as seen is his project Lonely Crowd, which incorporated the pixelated nature of digital works to convey the physical and emotional distances between strangers in a crowd. “The web has changed the way we access and read the city, through technologies that have shortened and broken the boundaries of space and time,” he says. “It is like a walk with no specific destination, affecting time, space and perspective with every click. There is not a linearity of past-present-future. It feels like a continuous flow of information that is updated.”

Fake Google Streetview car urban invention by artist group F.A.T. Lab, February 2010 at Transmediale 2010, Berlin. Image courtesy of Aram Bartholl.

Fake Google Street View car urban invention by artist group F.A.T. Lab, February 2010 at Transmediale 2010, Berlin

Interdisciplinary artist Aram Bartholl, meanwhile, has used Google imagery as the inspiration for some of his work but hardly produces only photography. Bartholl creates sculptural objects that represent virtual objects such as the red map marker icon found on Google Maps. “Services like Google Maps change the way we perceive the city,” he says. “I remember once I had a parcel service on the phone claiming my address didn’t exist because it couldn’t be found on Google Maps.” His works, which have been shown at Rencontres d’Arles, among other festivals, aim to explore how technology imitates reality and vice versa. “The map marker icon is just a 20 pixel interface on the screen, but when you switch to satellite mode and then zoom in more, it looks like it becomes part of the actual picture, casting a shadow on the city,” he says.

Despite the growing number of photographers who use Google in their works, it remains unclear how this technology will influence our perspective in photography—and perceptions of spatial reality—outside the virtual world.

In the meantime, we’d love to continue the conversation and hear your thoughts about how other artists are using Google Street View and Google Earth in the comments section below.

Paul Moakley is the Deputy Photo Editor at TIME. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulmoakley.

Reporting and interviews by Zara Katz, TIME photo intern and graduate student at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. You can follow her on on Twitter @zarakatz.

Carrie Mae Weems: A Look Back on Three Decades

The cover image of Carrie Mae Weems’s engaging book finds the artist and photographer wearing a long black dress as she stands at the shoreline with her back to the camera, looking at the ocean. It looks as if she is contemplating the morning. We, the “reader” or “viewer,” wait in anticipation to open the book and look into her world. The cover image is our invitation! The photograph is from Weems’s Roaming series from 2006. She becomes our narrator to history. She states: “This woman can stand in for me and for you; she leads you into history. She’s a witness and a guide.”

Weems is an art-photographer, performance artist, activist and videographer—well known for her photographic series and multi-screen projections relating to themes focusing on family, beauty and memory. For the last 25 years, she has relied on stories from the ‘kitchen table’ and of life in the low country of South Carolina, antebellum New Orleans, cities in Senegal, Cuba, Ghana and Italy to create a body of work that engages in history. An artist concerned with iconography, she has constructed a series of works questioning black women’s presence in popular and material culture as well as art history. Throughout her 30-odd year career, Weems has re-staged historical moments and created images that re-imagined everyday life from family stories to political history. Weems focused her camera on her own body to create multiple conversations. She interrogates and assembles old stereotypes and disassembles them.

In 1992, she refused to accept the scientific racism that prevailed in the 19th century circulating about black Americans. In re-imagining the photographed experiences of some of the blacks enslaved on a South Carolina plantation photographed by J. T. Zealy, a daguerreotypist commissioned by zoologist Louis Agassiz, Weems used the narrative of slavery and re-purposed the images. The title of her series From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried is a text and image installation of large scale framed images printed with a red tint, possibly to signify the life’s blood still flowing through the memory of their enslaved experience.

Born in Portland, Oregon, and now living in Syracuse, N.Y., photo-artist Weems interweaves a narrative of black female subjectivity, black beauty and the gaze in her work on beauty. Weems’s photographs are ‘performing beauty’ through lighting, posing, acting and fashion. Weems confronts historical depictions and restages them with ‘what if…’ questions. In her series, Not Manet’s Type, Weems critiques the white male art “masters,” and how beauty is defined through their paintings. The ironic series of five self-reflexive photographs with text, questions not only Manet but also Picasso, DeKooning and Duchamp.

Weems is the ideal model and she is well informed about the history of art, using her own partially dressed and nude body. The posing reveals her formal training as a photographer, and her choice of props is influenced by her sharp observation as a builder of ideas. The series’ power lies in her narrative voice and her ability to create a scene. At first glance, it looks as if the photographs are all the same because of the square format and the centered art deco-style vanity dresser. The setting is the bedroom, a private but inviting space. We, the viewer, peer through the square mat into the round mirror that frames her body, which lends an effect of peeping at a private moment. Her sensitivity to the historical gaze is quite evident, the time of day, the lace on the brass bed, the large white vase holding dried flowers, and the art work framed on the wall offer a sense of reality, as the bright sun bleaches the lower half of her body and the bed. Weems stands with her back to the viewer; the bold red text reads:

“It was clear, I was not Manet’s type… Picasso—who had a way with women only used me & Duchamp never even considered me.”

The series’ text clearly shows her vulnerability as she attempts to empower her image. The next images states: “Standing on shakey [sic] ground I posed myself for critical study but was no longer certain of the questions to ask.”

Women artists like Weems, Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Renee Cox and Carla Williams challenge ideas of beauty and desire, which are both critical components in Weems’s work. All of these artists dare her viewer to rethink their understanding and the positioning of contemporary art practices. Mirrors are often found in Weems’s self-portraits; she’s gazes at her statuesque frame which is reflected in the mirrored image. Gates states, “An artist does not make a work called Not Manet’s Type (1997) without a keen sense of her own authority, a respect—not reverence—for those artists who came before her, and an ability to laugh in the midst of serious thinking.”

Deborah Willis is a photographer, photo historian and professor at New York University. Her recent work includes a book and exhibition of the same title Posing Beauty in African American Culture on exhibit at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa.

Willis’s writing is featured in Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video, which will be released by Yale University Press in October.
A retrospective exhibition of the same name is also on view at the Frist Center in Nashville from Sept. 21, 2012 to Jan. 13, 2013.

It will then travel to the following locations:
Portland Art Museum:  Feb. 2–May 19, 2013
Cleveland Museum of Art:  June 30–Sept. 29, 2013
Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University: Oct. 16, 2013–Jan. 5, 2014
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York: Jan. 24–April 23, 2014

Pictures of Pictures: The Ambiguities of Laura Letinsky

The declaration that “a rose is a rose is a rose” is one of Gertrude Stein’s best-known lines. Now, with an upcoming body of work called Ill Form & Void Full, photographer Laura Letinsky—who is a fan of Stein’s—has her own take on the idea: “What’s the difference between having a picture of an apple and having an apple and having a picture of a picture of an apple?” she asks. “If you take a picture of a picture of an apple or if you take a picture of an apple, it ends up being the same thing. It’s still a photograph and it’s always distant.”

The work, which will be exhibited at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York City from Sept. 6 – Oct. 20, is a series of still-life photographs in which the tableaux are constructed from objects as well as pictures of objects. The title of the series is itself a reference to Stein, says Letinsky, who was inspired by the writer’s ability to make a word carry more than one meaning.

Letinsky, who has been making still-life photography since 1994, is familiar with double-meanings and illusions. She says that her interest in the genre came partially from the way objects speak to material desire, the way that the realm of the home is staged—in much the same way that a photograph of a piece of fruit can be placed on a real table. “We still want to think of [domestic life] as some sort of natural or organic presence,” she says. “It isn’t; it’s a constantly fluctuating and manufactured idea.”

In addition, the line between still-life art and advertising has blurred, she says, causing levels of meaning to expand. Whereas Letinsky can point to the four clearly delineated areas of art that would have existed hundreds of years ago—historical narrative, landscape, portrait, still life—today a still life’s common, commercial use has also made the genre a form of portraiture. “It’s very revelatory of identity in the general sense of being about a portrait of a culture, how culture values things, what things are deemed important,” says Letinsky. “The photograph figures on the one hand as making us feel like we have something, and yet we don’t have it, so it sets up a desire for the thing.”

And, for Letinsky, that ambiguity, the question of whether we have something in a photograph or we just want to have it (and, in turn, whether the object is an object or an image), is central to Ill Form & Void Full. The work—which she says is not meant to be pessimistic—questions whether photography ever shows us anything real, or if we just see what we want to see. So, in the end, when it comes to this work, it turns out that there’s a common phrase even more appropriate than the one about the rose: “It ends up becoming a kind of chicken-egg problem,” says Letinsky. “We produce the culture that we consume that we produce that we consume.”

Laura Letinsky is a Canada-born photographer. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000. More of her work can be seen hereIll Form & Void Full will be on view at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York City, Sept. 6 – Oct. 20.

Through the Glass Ceiling, Into the White Cube: 31 Women in Art Photography

Curators Natalia Sacasa and Jon Feinstein make no generalizations. Their show, “31 Women in Art Photography,” is a varied and diverse state-of-the-union of art photography encompassing all genres. The fact that each of the 31 photographs in the show was made by a female artist had no bearing on its curation. Feinstein first came up with the idea for the show as a response to increasing awareness of the male domination of the New York art world. He is quick to cite an article written in 2006 by Jerry Saltz of The Village Voice that begins, When it comes to being artists, women can be as bad as men, and goes on to scold every major gallery and museum in New York City for not allowing bad art by women to be shown at the same rate as men. A feminist collective called Brainstormers has presented research of the same ilk since 2005 detailing the grossly disproportionate representation of work by male over female artists in bluechip galleries and major institutions. Feinstein and the nonprofit arts organization he co-founded in 2005 called Humble Arts Foundation saw an opportunity. The show they made offers women artists real estate in gallery shows without bias. The whole reason we created Humble was to have it be a really democratic process and to find ways of showing really established photographers in the same context as recent graduates who we felt were making engaging or promising work, says Feinstein.

“31 Women in Art Photography” is now in its third incarnation. It has moved from its roots in a modest Brooklyn space where the first show was held in 2008 to a swanky white cube in Chelsea. Feinstein, who has curated the show each year with a different female co-curator, is this time working with Natalie Sacasa, senior director of another Chelsea gallery, Luhring Augustine. Despite Sacasa’s background in commercial galleries, she was able to be totally free in making her decisions for the show. I didnt take any commercial concerns into consideration when I was making selections,” she says. “For me it was definitely a taste perspective I wanted to present. Guillain-Barr syndrome . These are the people I think are the foremost practitioners in this medium.”

Amid the thousands of submissions received this year, a theme emerged: both men and women are making more pictures in studio, creating the object of their vision rather than going out in to the world to seek it. Theres a real consciousness of a non documentarian aesthetic,” says Sacasa. “People are not going out in the world so much to search out images that are meaningful to them, they are more creating them themselves. Whatever the difference between photographs made by men to those made by women, the array of pictures in this years show is stunning.

One photograph in particular, made by Lourdes Jeanette, stands out from the rest. Its an image of men acting very traditionally masculine, half naked and fighting. The exhibitions curators see this work as representative of a current trend. Sacasa proclaims exuberantly, The reason why I like it so much is because while its flash photography, documenting something thats going on, its almost as straight a photo as you can get, it has this incredible sculptural quality. The bodies at a certain point cease to be bodies and become volumes and forms. Its representative of a new direction.

This show is exciting because a platform has been created for the exclusive purpose of women having a voice in New York art institutions. From humble beginnings this show hangs in one of the most respectable galleries showing photography today, and that is a historical triumph for women and photography both.

“31 Women in Art Photography” will be on view at theHasted KraeutlerGallery in New York from July 26 to Aug. 17, 2012.

Shooting (Color) Blind: Matthew Gamber’s Still Lifes

A bunch of green bananas, a solitary flourescent bulb and the pie-shaped pieces of a Trivial Pursuit Game. These are the subjects of photographer Matthew Gamber’s latest collection of still lifes, titled “Any Color You Like.” The objects Gamber photographed were chosenfor their distinct and recognizable colorsa decision that appears to be in conflict with the presentation of the series as stark black-and-white prints.

The decision to print in black and white was meant, Gamber said, to challenge how people understand what they see. By using these different processes, and to try to look at certain subjects, it’s just to call attention to things that we take for granted in terms of seeing.

The inspiration for the project came while Gamber was teaching at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He discovered that a student in his color photography class was colorblind. He didn’t look at color as colorhe looked at it as value, Gamber said. He looked at it as a lack of contrast or a lack of clarity.”

The realization that his student was manipulating color, while only being able to see in tones of gray, led Gamber to create photographs that mimicked this experience. He began by shooting objects from pop-culture that were easily recognizable: a pair of 3D glasses and a Lite-Brite toy, for instance. He wanted to play with ideas of perception by removing the most recognizable feature from his subjects, their color.

I wanted it to be something that felt just out of reach, he says. I think the success of this relies on what the viewers expectations are.

As the project progressed, Gamber moved on to more subtle imagery. seo marketing . A shot of ornately patterned wallpaper in a Boston brownstone references Bauhaus-era color theory that influenced the industrial production of wallpaper in the 1930s, Gamber explained. An image of a display of North American birds took on more meaning when Gamber learned that the birds feathers do not have their own color, but rather, are able to reflect certain light spectrums.

In addition to thinking about color, Gamber wanted his photographs to play with ideas of timelessness. I wanted to shoot in a way that it looks like it could have been shot yesterday, but it also looks like it was shot in the 1940s or the 1950s, said Gamber. There is something about how when you photograph something in black and white, it gets locked in that timeframe where it just becomes obsolete as an everyday seeing experience.

Gamber spent two years on Any Color You Like, which recently won The Curator award from Photo District News and will be featured in Brooklyns Photoville show this month. All of the photographs were shot on color film or as color digital captures. The negatives and color files were then converted to black and white negatives and printed as traditional silver gelatin black-and-white prints in a darkroom.

Working on this project has influenced the way Gamber thinks about color in both his photography and his life. He has started bringing color blindness tests into the classes he teaches at various colleges in Boston. He has also, Gamber said with a chuckle, become a more color-coordinated dresser.

I can see that much more now, said Gamber I’m more aware of how we are more emotionally charged by certain colors.

Matthew Gamber is a Boston-based photographer. His photos will be featured in Brooklyn’s Photoville festival from June 22-July 1.

The Life of Lucian Freud

When British painter Lucian Freud died in July 2011, TIME’s art critic Richard Lacayo wrote that Freud “proved with a bang the continuing vitality of the figurative tradition in art.” A prodigious realist painter, who many considered one of the greatest British artists of his generation, Freud began his career using sharp, tight lines. In the 1950s, he set aside his thin brushes for thicker, hog’s-bristle brushes that Lacayo wrote “pushed pigment across the canvas in rich, thick flourishes.”

Freud painted dozens of nudes and loved subjects with copious amounts of flesh. He took long periods to complete portraits and required his subjects to commit incredible amounts of time to the process. In 2007, the Telegraph chronicled Freud’s painting of art handler Rita Kirby, a process that took 16 months and required Kirby to pose for him seven nights a week on top of her day job.

A new exhibition at London’s Pallant House Gallery features photographs by David Dawson, who was Freud’s model and studio assistant for 20 years. The show features some of Freud’s key paintings alongside Dawson’s photographs of the artist at work in his studio. In addition to photographs of the painting process, Dawson captured intimate moments of Freud’s life, including the application of shaving cream with one of his large brushes and cuddling Kate Moss in bed.

What emerges is a portrait of an artist who took painstaking care to capture intimate details in his paintings where the point of completion was different for each one. “Freud’s criterion is that he feels he’s finished when he gets the impression he’s working on somebody else’s painting,” Martin Gayford wrote in the Telegraph in 2007. Freud often looked inward. His 2005 self-portrait—one of many he did in his lifetime—is one of his most recognized paintings. But perhaps the most complete portrait of Freud will emerge after his death in pictures from Dawson’s lens, instead of the artist’s brush.

David Dawson: Working with Lucian Freud is on view at the Pallant House Gallery through May 20. An exhibition of photographs by David Dawson will be available for sale at Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert through March 2.

Nate Rawlings is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @naterawlings

Paris Photo 2011 Spotlights Sub-Saharan Africa

With its grand new setting in the Grand Palais, nearly 120 exhibiting galleries, and tens of thousands of expected visitors, Paris Photo has secured its place as the n’est plus ultra of photography fairs.

That hasn’t kept its new director, Julien Frydman, from having even greater ambitions for the 15th anniversary of the annual event, which begins today and runs through Nov. 13. “It’s about getting out of the ghetto,” says Frydman, the former chief of Magnum Photos in the French capital, who notes that until recently, documentary photography has languished as a sideshow in the history of art. “We want to make sure this photo fair is among the best art fairs of the world.”

Paris Photo 2011 certainly has a lot going for it already. This year, the theme of Sub-Saharan Africa will be marked by a display of portraits from the private trove of German collector Artur Walther and a special exhibition of up-and-coming young African talent. Visitors will be treated to a vast array of images from the continent, from Malick Sidebé’s celebration of Malian pop culture in the 1969′s to Richard Mosse’s pink-hued portraits of modern Congo.

In addition to its usual swarm of galleries, this year’s fair will feature a suite of new attractions intended to up its global profile. Frydman hopes the new Paris Photo Platform, a discussion forum, will debunk the notion of documentary photography as an insular art form. Led by art historian Chantal Pontbriant, the Platform will feature “thinkers, artists, art critics—but not the usual suspects,” he promises. To bring alive this dialogue between photography and other genres, storied curator André Magnin will bring together paintings and photographs by artists such as Yinka Shonibare and Seydou Keïta.

Another new feature, “Recent acquisitions,” uncovers how museums collect their artworks, from the Tate Modern’s focus on the oeuvre of Daido Moriyama to the Musée de l’Elysée’s acquisition of the Charlie Chaplin estate.

In time, Frydman hopes that his innovations will “skyrocket the fair into the top 10” art fairs in the world. It’s important to him, however, that it doesn’t lose its heart along the way. “What I wanted to keep is the conviviality,” he says, noting the fair’s ambiance of friendship and shared passion. “That’s something to keep as a treasure.”

Paris Photo runs through Nov. 13 in the French capital. Read more about it here.

Sonia van Gilder Cooke is a reporter in TIME’s London bureau. Follow her on Twitter at @svangildercooke.