Creative: Visual Diary #016, Paris Photo and March

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It had been three years since I felt the Blurb timewarp. This timewarp happens when you venture into the world as a cog in the Blurb machine. A timewarp of old, pre-C19 age, might be heading to a country to do fifteen events in fifteen days in three different cities, or perhaps spending nine weeks straight on the road with no days off. Those timewarps are mostly over, but the new timewarp feels similar in some ways. A short period of time, a long list of things to accomplish, and a fervor that comes from being around something that gets your blood going.

Paris Photo 2023 did not disappoint.

There was great photography and great books to be had. There was the catching up with familiar faces. There was meeting new people and learning about their work and printed successes. But what was perhaps the most interesting aspect of the entire week was the public’s pursuit of all things photographic. On the morning I attended the event I encountered a thousand people waiting to gain access. All during the day and into the night, the crowd continued to surge. Shoulder to shoulder, lining every wall and open space. Yes, the public’s interest in photography is at an all-time high, or at least it feels that way.

You may love or hate an event like this.

You may love or hate the industry side of the business. You might feel this is an exclusive club and you aren’t invited. You might see and hear things you don’t understand. That is all part and parcel, and if it really bothers you then you have two options. You can vent and rage, or you can attempt to better understand what is happening and why. The photo art world is a business. I know it’s fun to wax poetic about pseudo-intellectual nonsense and how the world should be but in the meantime, the photo-art world continues to expand and adapt, with or without you. You can attempt to dismiss it all as “crap,” which only makes you look disconnected, or you can truly study what’s there and use it to your advantage as you work to get better.

The photo fair, in great part, is about curation.

Making sense of the zillions of images and printed pieces. But even with great curation, not everything will resonate. That’s okay. Do you like every book you read? Every film you see? Every painting, design, or illustration? Then why on Earth would you think that everything photographic is going to be your “thing?” Attending an event like this is educational, inspirational, maddening at times, confusing at others, but the key is to attend. (If possible.) There is no right and wrong.