2013 11 17 Paris Photo

Today is what we call in the industry, a travel day – a non match day.  Travel days for rock and roll bands mean sleep and rest. I’m driving from Bruxelles to Paris.

My intentions were to go to Royal White Star Bruxelles and cover them in their Belgian Second Division match, but with bad traffic predicted in Paris, I decided to miss the opportunity of clocking up another new ground.

Not quite Abu Dhabi prices, but an amazing £1.04 for a litre of diesel on the outskirts of Bruxelles, beats the £1.52 I have paid in London before! Lovely straight, clean, smooth roads. So much better than the M1.

Last week I was on the Peripherique in Paris on my way to PSG for their UEFA Champions League match, Today, thankfully the traffic is less calm and I get to my hotel in Porte Clichy quite easily.

With no time to spare, I jump on the metro and go to the Paris Photo show. http://www.parisphoto.com/paris/about

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Staged in the beautiful Grand Palais, I did not know quite what to expect upon my arrival. The place was huge. Outside there were thousands of people everywhere.

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Within minutes, I realised why I did so bad in my Photography A levels. Most of the photography on show was not my cup of tea.

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Upside down trees, pointless portraits that I just did not get, to images of shacks in rural landscapes that I looked at and felt greatly out of my depth.

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Now I like paintings. Not modern art but the stuff done by the masters. I fondly remember running around the National Gallery in London before bunking off to watch a match at Highbury when I was at Art School. Even then football was more important! But I did like and appreciate the structure and composition of the great works. When I was in the Corbis office in London once, a nice man went ‘wow’ at some of my pictures – then promptly took me to meet the guys who worked in the fine art department.

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Pictures of red bicycles against blue stonewashed walls and close-ups of polka dot red dresses were presented to me. Did I shoot like this I was asked? A polite no returned me to looking at the live images coming in from an Australian cricket match.

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This was not certainly not documentary or reportage but fine art. Expensive fine art.

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French men with white hair thrown over to one side, dressed as if they were in a boy band with the most chic women on their shoulders walked around in a daze. It seemed a bit all too much to them, thankfully I encountered a couple of Germans who were a bit more critical like myself.

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I will listen to virtually any music. Kraut Rock, Electro Pop, Classical, Jazz, Hip Hop – anything. Despite seeing Simple Minds over 250 times, one of the best gigs I ever went to was a Barry Manilow show. What a performer! 60s Motown to Mel and Kim, it’s all on my ipod.

When it comes to images, I can look at tapestry art all day. Paintings, the odd sculpture but a piece of my brain is missing when it comes to fine art photography.

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There were some images I liked – some I even recognised. I loved seeing the original prints by NASA of portraits of Planet Earth taken from the moon.

After looking at the €1000 price tag, I wish I had of done a view of NYC out of my hotel window when I was last there. The photographer in question had nearly sold out of his limited edition print run of 30.

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A privately printed book with a 300 print run was going for 4,000 Euros. And people were looking at it to the point I had to blink twice.

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A four-year project resulting in nine images in white frames was fetching a mere 700.

A picture taken in 1945 and printed in 1969 was 7,800 Euro.

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A Japanese book store stand got my attention!

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Now I am sounding like I am Japanese obsessed, but the quality of the books was amazing. I actually felt that I was holding something special. Like a new album with an amazing cover – going to the record shop kids, we used to buy albums and not just download music that did not accompany imagery. The Tosho Printing Company Ltd – wow – http://www.tosho.co.jp/

When I did my self-published book, I had it shipped in from Singapore. http://www.goodbyegaymeadow.com/  – and am currently working hard on an iBook version. However after looking at prints behind glass, there is nothing better than holding a good quality book!

Then another chic looking man, leather trousers, checked shirt and red scarf around his neck – who looked more like Brian Badonde from FaceJacker than Badonde ever did! – strolled up and had a very quick 3 second flick through a Japanese photo book. And then another and another. He pointed he wanted all three. Then like a teenager pre-CD era, went onto buy another 7 books from just the covers. He sadly missed out on the great books by http://www.ninamika.com/ but needless to say the Japanese man serving him told him, “You are very kind – thank you” before charging over €600 on his Gold Visa card. 

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I liked the philosophy of exhibiting. I certainly like the idea of getting thousands, but not for upside down trees.

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Perhaps I should have gone to the Belgian Second Division match and returned next year to the Paris Photo show with a set of black and white images of the floodlights and joyfully retire for 10 years.

The Paris Christmas market provided a return to normality. And I certainly don’t mind selling the set for €15,000 – just email to start the ball rolling 🙂

Back to editing Japan v Netherlands

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One response to “2013 11 17 Paris Photo

  1. Love this article. The idea of fine art photography has never really appealed to me either – and upside down trees? Crazy what some people buy but I guess it is each to their own 🙂

    I too will stick to sports.

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