Interview: How ‘The Photography Show’ Became the Premier Event for Contemporary Photography

The Photography Show 2019

Work by Casper Faassen
Photo: Kristina Nazarevskaia GalleryIntell © The Photography Show

For those interested in the best of photography, there’s one destination that’s a must-visit come spring. The Photography Show, presented by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD), is one of the world’s most prestigious annual photography events. It started nearly four decades ago as a way for photography dealers to showcase their inventory, and it has since evolved into a multi-day event that offers a wide array of images on view from galleries across the globe.

The world of photography has been transformed with the advent of digital, and The Photography Show has changed along with it. Walking through the event at Pier 94 reflects the different forms that the field has taken over the years. There are 19th-century photographs, video, and works that combine photos with other forms of art. Casper Faassen, whose work was on view in the 2019 show, is a great example of this. As an artist-photographer based in the Netherlands, he manipulates materials using paint to create ethereal portraits of people and objects. While not exclusively photographs, his work highlights the larger trend that pushes the envelope of the field.

In addition to the work on view, The Photography Show has programming called AIPAD Talks. Bringing together curators, artists, writers, and more, they discuss ideas, trends, and processes that “start conversations that lead to understanding, inspiration, and action” within the field.

The Photography Show 2019 was on view from April 4 to April 7 and hosted 94 galleries, 34 book dealers and publishers, and 12 AIPAD talks. More than 16,000 people made their way through the event, including My Modern Met's Editor-in-Chief Eugene Kim with Rachel Peace of NYC & Company. My Modern Met had the privilege of speaking with Richard Moore, the President of AIPAD, about The Photography Show and how the field has changed, particularly with the advent of the smartphone. Scroll down for our exclusive interview.

For nearly four decades, The Photography Show has highlighted the best in the field. Scroll down for our exclusive interview with current Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) President Richard Moore.

The Photography Show 2019

Photo: Kristina Nazarevskaia GalleryIntell © The Photography Show

What inspired the creation of The Photography Show?

In 1980, a group of photography dealers got together at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City to show their inventory. The year before, they had formed the Association of Photography Art Dealers, believing that photography should be exhibited as art. Today, The Photography Show presented by AIPAD is nearly 40 years old, and no one questions the place of photography in the art world.

The Photography Show 2019

Photo: Kristina Nazarevskaia GalleryIntell © The Photography Show

Nowadays, everyone has a nice camera on their phones. Do you think the ubiquitousness of the camera has really challenged people to push the boundaries of the field?

I think the fact that everyone has a camera on their phone has created an audience much more aware of the power of photography. Most photographs made on phones never make it past a small display screen, so I feel this has led serious photographers to push the boundaries of how their work is presented, through creative printing, mixed media or in book form. The finished object is a big part of what makes an image collectible as art.

How has that shift been reflected in The Photography Show?

I believe that as a culture, we are becoming more visual and that interest in photography has grown exponentially. I am always impressed by how much young and new collectors know about photography and how interested they are to learn more about it.

The Photography Show 2019

Photo: Kristina Nazarevskaia GalleryIntell © The Photography Show

Although the 2019 show is over, what was it like this past year? 

We were so pleased with the success of our 2019 Show. Collectors and curators were very complimentary about the wide range of extraordinary work available. And new this year we had project booths, which highlighted the solo artist and themed exhibitions and garnered rave reviews from attendees.

The Photography Show 2019

Meryl McMaster, “On the Edge of This Immensity, 2019
© Meryl McMaster / courtesy Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, Montreal
Chromogenic print on archival paper flush mounted to Dibond 40 x 60 inch (101.60 x 152.40 cm)

What was one of the project booths that viewers enjoyed?

In tandem, Toronto’s Stephen Bulger Gallery and Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain presented Meryl McMaster’s project As Immense As The Sky, a meditation on land, ancestry, memory, and self. A new series of self-portraits, the project focuses on the overlapping of cultures, histories, and landscapes across Canada. Employing elaborate costumes and natural settings, McMaster explores ancestral stories and ancient paths across Canada, as well as her own—Indigenous (Plains Cree) and European (Dutch, British)—genealogies.

How can a photographer or gallery get involved with The Photography Show for 2020?

Interested galleries should contact AIPAD to receive information about the application process for the 2020 show. AIPAD does not accept applications from photographers.

Here are some more highlights from The Photography Show 2019.

The Photography Show 2019

Mickalene Thomas, “Les Trois Femmes Deux,” 2018
Chromogenic color print, 48 x 60 inches
Courtesy of Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

The Photography Show 2019

Richard Corman, “Basquiat A Portrait V,” 1984/printed 2018
Archival digital C-print, 30 x 40 inches
© Richard Corman, Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

The Photography Show 2019

Dorothea Lange, “Ex-tenant farmer on relief grant in the
Imperial Valley, California,” 1937.
Gelatin silver print with graphic hand shading, ca. 1964, 6 1/2 x 5 5/16 inches
Courtesy of Richard Moore Photographs, Oakland, CA

The Photography Show 2019

Janette Beckman, “CEY, Keith 2.0,” 1985/2014
Archival pigment print, 40 x 30 inches
Courtesy of Fahey Klein Gallery, Los Angeles

The Photography Show 2019

Tyler Haughey, “Gold Crest Resort Motel,” 2016
Archival pigment print, 56 x 70 inches
Courtesy of Sears-Peyton Gallery, New York

The Photography Show 2019

Cig Harvey, “Jesse in the Fog, Pink Coat,” 2018
Chromogenic dye coupler print, multiple formats available
© Cig Harvey / Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery, New York

The Photography Show 2019

Evandro Teixeira, “Actress and model Luisa Maranhão posing for a fashion campaign, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,” 1966
Vintage gelatin silver print, 6 1/8 x 7 1/4 inches.
Courtesy of Utópica, São Paulo

The Photography Show 2019

Jane Evelyn Atwood, “Self-Portrait, New York,” 1979
Gelatin silver print, printed 2014; 12 x 9 1/4 inches
Courtesy of L. Parker Stephenson Photographs, New York

The Photography Show 2019

André Kertész, “Pont des Arts, Paris,” 1929/1960s
Silver print, 13-11/16 x 10-3/4 inches
Courtesy of Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, Chalfont, PA

The Photography Show 2019

Stephen Wilkes, “Grizzly Bears, Bella Coola, British Columbia, Canada,” 2018
Archival C-print, 50 x 92 inches
Courtesy of Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York

The Photography Show: Website | Facebook | Instagram 

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos from The Photography Show. 

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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