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Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Brief Report On My Trip to NY and the AIPAD Show

On April 5th I flew to New York to see the AIPAD show, which is a yearly event featuring many of the top photography galleries nationwide, including a few from other countries. I wanted to get to this recap of the event sooner, but upon returning to Chicago I had a confirmation and check waiting for me for two 5’x9’ prints.  Suffice it to say, I needed to do the finishing touches and get them printed as soon as possible.

Anyhow, back to AIPAD: I started attending the event last year, mostly to see who was there, both gallery- and artist-wise. It is always good to get out and see art, and it never hurts to gauge how the work that I am doing functions alongside that of other artists. 

By the time I got into NYC on Friday and up to my room at the London Hotel, I decided I would give myself a break, meet my son for dinner, and give myself plenty of time to explore the show come Saturday.

I arrived at AIPAD just a few minutes after the doors opened, which turned out to be quite a good thing; within an hour or so the show was completely packed.  My sister Lesley, an impressive artist herself, met me there.  Overall, I have to say that the show itself was quite good.  One was immersed within an epic range of photographs dating from the 1800’s up to to very modern, innovative, contemporary work.   As expected, there were galleries that specialized in classical photographs, others in modern photos, and some who contributed a mix of everything.  

As a part of my background, I thoroughly studied the history of photography, and also taught seminars about fine art photography that incorporated pictures from the early 1800’s and onward.  Perhaps because I feel that current day photo artists bring something new and exciting to the table, they have tended to spark my curiosity a bit more than the traditional artists.  And at AIPAD, there was a lot of them to be seen, some with work that was just ok, but some of it quite fantastic.  

Two of my favorite galleries showed some excellent work.  Catherine Edelman, the best photo gallery in Chicago, displayed, among other pieces, some of John Cyr’s pictures of renowned photographers’ developer trays.  These could be very mundane pieces if handled by any other artist, but the way John works so directly with the pieces allows them to become much more than that.  Cathy sold me one of his prints of the tray that Aaron Siskind, one of my former teachers, used. I feel honored to own a little piece of artistic history.

Next was Kim Bourus’ Higher Pictures from New York.  I met Kim last year, and within minutes knew she and her gallery were important entities in the photo art world.  Higher Pictures was showing just one artist’s work, K8 Hardy, which is a series of wonderful self-portraits.

I always wonder when I go to galleries if I’m going to see work like mine.  I find that I am more of an artist than a photographer in my recent years; I use the camera like a paint brush, and just about never take a ‘straight’ picture anymore.  An artist, I feel, should have a unique vision which is apparent in my work. I have yet to encounter someone who is doing what I do, the way I do it. 

I won’t get in to more specifics than this; there is just much too much to talk about!  But I will say this, if you love photography and you love art, go to AIPAD – you won’t regret it.

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