London beats Paris as a cultural metropolis hands down, according to Boris Johnson. In an official vindication of London’s supremacy over its closest trival, the London Mayor’s new cultural strategy fastidiously counts twice as many museums in London as in Paris, four times the number of specialist arts colleges, and five times as many festivals. And yet when it comes to photography – at least in November – Paris is second to none.
Since 1980, the biennial Mois de la Photo has turned Paris into the world’s capital of photography, and its regular star turn is Paris Photo. This year’s international fair will spotlight the rich photographic tradition of Central European countries, whose work will show alongside more than 1000 of the best international artists, all exhibiting in the cavity beneath the Louvre’s amous glass pyramid.
The Mois de la Photo also features the prestigious Prix Pictet, which announced its 2011 shortlist in Paris last week. The works – all on the theme of growth – include Taryn Simon’s 2007 photograph of a mentally and physically disabled in-bred white tiger, and a study of the dense high-rise developments crowding the Hong Kong skyline by Michael Wolf.
Paris Photo also runs its own prize, in conjunction with BMW. The award’s seventh year saw 20 finalists compete for a €12 000 (£10 200) award, with the results announced yesterday. The varied, 20-strong shortlist spanned a 2009 shot of rickety satellite dishes planted in a field, by Krisztina Erdel, and Cig Harvey’s fairy-tale creation, Devin Fireflies, made this year.
Yeresa Vickova, Two 12, 2008
Lisa Strombeck, Uniform I, 2008-10
Source: Courtesy Galerie Vu, Paris
Michael Ackerman, Half Life / Warsaw, 2008
Peter Bialobrzeski, The Raw and the Cooked, 2010
Katharina Bosse, Sand Serie, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mother
Lucia Stranaoiova, Intimacy II, 2009
Tina Barney, Leo Castelli and Wife, W Magazine, 1998
Source: Courtesy Galerie Polaris Paris
Nigel Rolfe, Flowers in Face, 1993