The Photo LA and Focus Photo LA exhibition and events, held from January 31 through February 3, 2019, added up to an impressive opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to study the latest offerings in photographic art and book publications. Some 60 galleries, publishers, bookstores, non-profits, schools, and other organizations were present to provide a vast array of offerings.
Rather than cover the enormous quantity of what could be seen and the many friends and acquaintances I was able to share time with, I will describe a few special highlights here, along with some photographs of what surprises I found.
One of the organizations that never fails to impress is the Building Bridges Art Exchange, which featured the work of L.A. photographers Sarah Hadley, Bootsy Holler, JK Lavin, Lisa McCord, and Marian Crostic.
The Nino Mier Gallery of Los Angeles and Cologne, Germany, surprised us with large prints of the visually and psychological altered state work Morphs by Polly Borland, in which the model is enveloped in colored body stockings:
At the Toth Gallery (Manhattan) two artists were presented that are both intriguing. Tom Blachford showed mysterious photographs of Southern California environments taken with long exposures in moonlight (below left) and Matthew Tierney exhibited multi-layered portraits that are painterly and modern (below right).
Among the bookstore/galleries, photo-eye had a stand with outstanding treasures: The lastest work by Nick Brand (whose book This Empty World will be reviewed in The Photobook Journal shortly), amazing portrait book featuring goats and sheep photographed by Kevin Horan, the animal portraits of Brad Wilson, and a wonderfully complex and elaborate hand-made photobook, Xian by Thomas Sauvin, celebrating vernacular photography; Rixon Reed, Founder and Director, ably demonstrated this work reminiscent of advent calendar windows behind which surprises can be found.
And speaking of surprises, I was delighted to see a number of representatives from China at this exhibition. Not only that, at the SoPhoto Gallery (Beijing), in addition to studying the great work of established fine art photographers, I was introduced to the talented newcomer Dia Yunzhi Wang, who was so kind as to present me with her one-of-a-kind hand-made artist book, I Was There in Your Shattered and Rosy Dreams, which also has been printed for general distribution, and which I will be reviewing in The PhotoBook Journal shortly. As I photographed her for this article, a priceless unstaged moment developed: two other photographers photographed me photographing Dia, and the whole thing was ably captured by the one and only Douglas Stockdale for your amusement:
Last, but certainly not least, two presentations stood out, Open Show LA #50, featuring five local talents (shown here: Ave Pildas), and the Photobook Roundtable, featuring Aline Smithson, Dotan Saguy, Douglas Stockdale, and Khodr Cherri, and moderated by Richard S. Chow, which I discussed at TPBJ.
Looking forward to Photo LA 2020!
All images © 2019 by Gerhard Clausing, and Douglas Stockdale (where indicated), and/or the respective artists