It was around the end of April and I was still suffering from the cold of my first winter in New York, when I had the opportunity to choose a professional travel destination as a MoMA intern in the Department of Photography. And what better escape could there be than a photographic journey to California?
The occasion: Paris Photo Los Angeles. (Even the title seemed to evoke a promising event.) One of the major international photo fairs taking place every year in Paris would be presented in the U.S. in the city of Los Angeles over four days, from April 24 to 27. The numbers were spectacular: 69 leading galleries and 12 booksellers from 18 countries presenting works by more than 1000 artists.
So here I was, full of excitement to cross the gates of The Paramount Studios and take part in this big photographic celebration. Suddenly, I found myself out of the big city and transferred to a totally different place, with the Paramount Studios were entirely converted into a photographic village. I wandered around the little streets, visiting galleries and browsing artists’ photobooks, until I ended up at three large exhibition spaces full of amazing works. A great variety of both early and contemporary photographs was displayed, reflecting the use of this medium over the past decades. I felt overwhelmed by images and by the opportunity to participate in this prolific meeting of artists, art professionals, and collectors.
The programs at Paris Photo Los Angeles proved to equally rich. A series titled “Sound and Vision” consisted of screenings and conversations. In a specially arranged dark room, film and video works made since the 1930s were projected onto large screens, and visitors could sit, put on headphones, and rest while enjoying two films about photographic history and the links between moving image and art.
The exhibitions and screenings were followed by three days full of panels composed of artists and curators. Photographers—such as Stephen Shore, Jeff Wall, Leigh Ledare, Taryn Simon, Walead Beshty, Jean-Luc Moulène, to name just a few—engaged in interesting conversations regarding their work. After seeing so many photographs in such a short time and with my head full of questions and thoughts about the works, it was a wonderful time to hear directly what the artists had to say.
After Paris Photo Los Angeles came to an end, my photographic trip to the West Coast continued for a few more days. With museums like LACMA, MOCA, the Getty Center, the Hammer Museum, and the Annenberg Space for Photography all based in Los Angeles, I had many more outstanding exhibitions to take in. I came back to a rainy and cold New York full of inspiration and eager to dive once again into my own photo projects at MoMA.