PhotoLA 2007

Finders Are Keepers at Photo Extravaganza This Weekend

When the 2007 installment of PhotoLA gets underway at the Santa Monica Civic Center on Thursday night, more than 65 of the world’s finest photographic galleries will be toting their wares. photo%20la.gif Adorning the walls of the makeshift galleries will be imagery from the likes of Dianne Arbus, Harry Callaghan, Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sebastiao Salgado, and Edward Weston. Between January 19 and 21, connoiseurs of fine photography can not only walk amongst the photographs crafted by such luminaries, but also walk home with one or two of them.

Take a booth like the Peter Fetterman Gallery for example. Operating from his Los Angeles gallery space, Fetterman has been one of the leading west coast photographic dealers for over 15 years. He has been part of PhotoLA since its inception and has bought to the fair photographs from his hand-picked register of classic artists. Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, and John Szarkowski are some of the photographers whose work has so graceful decorated his stall over the years.

The other Los Angeles-based photographic heavyweight who is an intrinsic part of PhotoLA is the Stephen Cohen Gallery. Cohen is actually the instigator of the print fair and has also maintained a significant presence throughout its evolution. While Peter Fetterman concentrates on classic photographic artistry, Cohen can always be counted on for unearthing some of the more exciting contemporary practitioners. Names like Pavel Banka, Geoffrey Fricker, and Judy Gelles are might not be ones instantly familiar, but you will be hearing much more of in the future.

Some of the international galleries participating in this year’s event include the Czech Center for Photography, London’s Hackelbury Gallery, and Galerie Esther Woerdehoff from Paris. Just as these galleries are here to expose their roster of artists to the United States, other galleries are intent of offering American artists to the world. For not only does PhotoLA attract private collectors from the world over, it is also an annual port of call for curators from the world’s leading public and private collections.

Santa Barbara will again be represented by both gallery and artist. The work of motor sports photographer Jesse Alexander, who recently had an exhibition in the gallery space at Samy’s, is represented by the Peter Fetterman Gallery. And photography dealer and former museum curator Carole Thompson will again be offering classic imagery drawn from her vast holdings documenting the historical American South. Thompson also maintains a collection of vintage prints by Lewis Hine.

As part of their annual proceedings, PhotoLA also stages an illuminating lecture series. This year’s lectures will include photographers Jim Goldberg and Mona Kuhn discussing their recent work as well a collecting-orientated series featuring Virginia Heckert from the photographic curatorial staff of the J Paul Getty Museum and curator, editor, and author Stephen White.

Yet no matter how insightful the talks are, nothing quite compares to the photographs themselves. And while you don’t have to be a collector to appreciate fine photography, by wandering PhotoLA, you will no doubt soon be inspired to become one.

The Details: PhotoLA 2007 goes down this weekend, Friday January 19 through Sunday, January 21, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main Street, in Santa Monica. See for info.

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