Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Friday Slide Show: PhotoFairs San Francisco Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

2 March 2018

Last Friday we spent the afternoon at PhotoFairs San Francisco. The fair describes itself as a high-curated, boutique fair offering collectors and curators access to artists and galleries rarely seen in the Bay Area.

Held over the weekend at the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason, it stretched the length of the pier with two aisles separating three rows of booths hung with photographs or stacked with publications.

At the very front was Connections, a darkened room for showing video, and at the very end was the Conversations space for panel discussions and lectures. Special exhibitions included the Insights: Poetry of Silence exhibition at the far end of the pavilion and SFMOMA's Chinese Photography Now! in front. There were also areas for recuperation and nourishment.

The Festival Pavilion. The sun was out on the first day of the fair.

Aperture, SF Camerawork and Lapis & Nazraeli Press had booths. Leica also had a booth.

Before it closed, 11,000 had visited including 30 featured photographers. They saw displays by 40 galleries from 15 countries and 26 cities. And the galleries racked up more sales in the second year of the San Francisco event than the first.

Nopalito's Bar Menu. Three specialty drinks at the top.

Neither a collector nor a curator, we were drawn by the photographs themselves. As we wandered the pavilion, we shot a few of our favorites, being drawn in by the roofless walls of the booths, the skylights of the old building and the crowd itself.

Waiting patiently to get the composition we wanted, one charming lady advised us it wouldn't be easy to get a clear shot. We weren't just interested in copying the art on the walls however. We wanted to portray the dynamic feeling of the place, where one gorgeous print led to another.

On the show floor itself, the lighting wasn't much of an issue. The prints were carefully lit by spotlights. But there was a problem photographing the setting because the warm artificial light conflicted with the cooler natural light coming from the skylights.

We used a WhiBal to capture the temperature of the artificial lighting so we could make judicious adjustments in Lightroom.

We were able to attend one of the talks in the Conversations room. The Institutional Lens: Collecting photography by artists from Latin America was a panel discussion hosted by PhotoFairs Artistic Director Alexander Montague-Sparey with Getty curator Idurre Alonso, MoMA curator Sarah Meister, former Tate curator Shair Mavlian and Brazilian curator Thyago Nogueira.

Conversations. A panel discussion on Latin American photographers.

Each of them showed slides of their collections while discussing how they built the collections, put on the shows and financed their efforts.

But something Montague-Sparey said at the end of the presentation stuck with us. He got into photography, he said, because it was the quiet art. And, among the arts, the underdog.

There's more than a little truth to that.

Photography has plenty of contests and grants but no Oscars, no Emmys, no CMA awards, no Tonys, nothing Jimmy Kimmel would host. And not one Kennedy Center Honor goes to a photographer. Nor is there anything like the Mark Twain Prize.

Quiet indeed.

But still the underdog? Not if you wandered the aisles at PhotoFairs San Francisco. It was just a stunning experience even if, like us, you only had bus fare home in your pocket.

BackBack to Photo Corners