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By Suzanne Révy, Associate Editor
Sometimes, the timing of events seems pre-determined, even if they are coincidental. Several weeks ago, I booked a flight bound for southern California to visit my mother in Orange County, and discovered that I would be an hour south of the Bergamot Arts Center in Santa Monica where the annual Classic Photographs Los Angeles fair was scheduled to take place during my visit. What luck!
Classic Photographs Los Angeles is an intimate fair, featuring thirty exhibitors in three buildings at this well-known complex of art galleries. It was established in 2010 as an alternative to the larger art fairs, and it feels like a collegial and welcoming community of gallerists, artists, publishers and collectors. There was a mix of vintage and contemporary photographs on display and riches to be found in bins. It was such a delight to spend the day there, so I thought I’d share a few highlights that caught my eye.
Joseph Bellows Gallery presented Wayne Sorce’s magnificent digital color c-prints of urban landscapes made in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. One large framed print of a neighborhood bore echoes of Vermeer, owing in part to two small figures walking between the colorful structures on Halstead Street in Chicago. In fact, this gallery offered a plethora of imagery from that era including work by Lewis Baltz, Roger Minick and the street photographs of Sage Sohier.
Etherton Gallery had a wide selection of vintage prints including several by Robert Frank, Edward Weston and Emmet Gowin, but a color carbon print of Frida Kahlo by Nickolas Muray was particularly striking. Howard Greenburg Gallery offered a large collection classic black and white imagery, and it was a pleasure to see four prints by a former teacher, William Gedney.
Edward Ranney’s stark black and white landscapes of Peruvian deserts at Deborah Bell Photographs are both beautiful and disturbing. One of his silver gelatin prints revealed human skulls of a looted cemetery: the reliquary trace of long ago violence.
In a far more serene image, Scheinbaum & Russek presented a high-key Sally Mann picture of hands and legs immersed in a tub of soapy water that was simply sublime, as was an RJ Kern’s image of a goat in Norway at the Klompching Gallery.
There were several exhibitors offering vernacular or found images. Wall Space Gallery featured contemporary prints of negatives that the artist Aline Smithson has collected from an unknown photographer who worked in Kansas, and the Gary Edwards Gallery of Washington DC displayed anonymous, hand-painted, salt-print naive portraits, which were charming.
In addition, Wall Space Gallery had a diverse collection of contemporary work including prints by Priya Kambli from her recent series Buttons for Eyes, three large Carl Corey’s from his series The Strand and Jeffrey Aaronson’s images made in North Korea in the early 90’s.
Santa Fe’s Obscura Gallery presented a beautiful Beth Moon image of an ancient tree, a marvelous gum print of a white lotus by Cy DeCosse, and loose prints from Louviere & Vanessa’s Chloroform series.
And finally, having recently reviewed her book, 10-Mile Radius, (http://elinspringphotography.com/blog/suzanne-revy-book-reviews-the-family-imprint-by-nancy-borowick-and-10-mile-radius-by-cat-gwynn/) it was a pleasure to see Cat Gwynn and actual prints of images from the book at the Susan Spiritus Gallery. Along with Cat’s work, several large scale prints by Seung Hoon Park and Christopher Tamas Kovacs graced the walls, but I was pleased to find a few gems in the bins, including Mitchell Hartman’s series of museum goers which I have admired on facebook.
Feature Image: Etherton Gallery booth at Classic Photographs Los Angeles 2018 (photo by Suzanne Révy).
Classic Photographs Los Angeles
Joseph Bellows Gallery
Howard Greenburg Gallery
Deborah Bell Photographs
Scheinbaum & Russek
Wall Space Gallery
Susan Spiritus Gallery