Click on above
graphic to view the photo essay The
By Judah S. Harris
It’s probably no secret that photographers
like photography. But there’s a huge audience out there of
non-photographers who are equally passionate about the photographic
medium. This is a growing audience of individuals from many places and
walks of life who are finding it hard to live without photography. Or
maybe to be a little more fair, who appreciate photography’s unique
ability to portray the reality of the world we live in today, the
places where people lived yesterday, and the bounty of ideas and
emotions and vistas that are not bound by any set time or chronology.
Over the last number of decades, photography has become increasingly
recognized as more than just a potent medium of expression and
communication. Today it is considered a true form of art, as legitimate
as any creation involving brushes and canvas, or other tools and
technique that have been in existence for ages. As the perception in
the art world of photography as fine art became more common, dealers,
galleries and exhibition opportunities increased; values for
photographic prints rose; and select photographers, representing a
range of subject matter and styles, achieved fame (even if not fortune)
and attracted what could in fact be termed a loyal following.
The Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) was
begun in 1979. Based in Washington, DC, they are a membership
organization promoting specific standards relating to the purchasing
and selling of photography and a public awareness of photographic
collecting. Their annual show - appropriately named The Photography Show - is held in
NYC each year and offers a four-day experience, an almost unprecedented
opportunity really, to view and purchase photography of all genres and
at a wide range of price points.
I have attended a number of times in the past, but thought that this
year I’d actually photograph the event, with the goal of documenting
how people interact with photographs – at least in this sort of venue.
Probably in a private home or in a corporate office space it's somewhat
different, but here at the show, in every single aisle, the interaction
I spent a total of nine hours on the Friday and Sunday of the 2007
which took place April 12-15 at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan.
The idea of photographing people looking at photographs of people - or
looking at landscapes, or still lifes, or any other subject - seemed
appealing. Enough at least to invest the time I spent over two days.
Here at The Photography Show
I could observe, in concentrated form, the nexus of people and
photographic art. How do people interact with photography? How do they
look at photographic prints; how close do they stand to the art; how do
they handle actual prints; what questions do they pose to the dealers
or discuss with others also viewing the show; what do they “like” or
The photographs you’re about to see will answer some of these
questions, but more so they will validate the questions as ones worth
asking. After viewing this photo essay you may have your own questions
or perceptions about “photography as art,” and you might ponder more
than you have before the nexus of photographic art and your own life.