Photo Saint-Germain

Created in 2010 Photo Saint-Germain is an annual festival that takes place in November in Paris.  It sees small galleries, studios, institutions and book shops collaborating to create more than 40 photography exhibitions and events.  There is no theme just a celebration of photography and lens based media.  In this small area of Paris, a network of picturesque streets, there are photographs in almost every window and on every corner.  From the Musee d’Orsay to La Petite Galerie the exhibitions are broad in range, histories, genres and curation.

‘Enter as Fiction’ work by Kourtney Roy at the Galerie Catherine & Andre Hug was a well conceived exhibition.  The self-portraits create an imaginary world, with her alone like a silver screen heroine.  She becomes part of her surroundings, here route 66, embedded in the landscape and under the glowing sunshine.

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In contrast, and as good as it should be, was a small exhibition of photographs by Mario Giacomelli, at Galerie Berthet-Aittouares.  Mainly known for the Seminarians playing in the snow or the famous Scanno Boy, considered as one of the most important pictures in the history of the medium, here were examples of his personal ‘theatre’.  Here are fables and a made up world of symbols.

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‘California California’ another exhibition, just around the corner featured the work of British artist and photographer Chris Shaw, exhibiting alongside Nicholas Silberfaden, curated by Inès de Bordas & Laure Flammarion.   Shaw captures a dark and spectacular vision of the Californian desert during the summer of 2013 while on a residency in Joshua Tree National Park.  In this bold and striking series of photographs, the joshua trees and various desert cacti are transformed into haunting anthropomorphic figures and dancing icons. The prints themselves bear the marks of the ad-hoc printing process, with bleeding edges, fingerprints, off-kilter frames and Shaw’s signature hand-written titles.

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At Galerie Antoine Laurentin there was an intriguing and beautiful exhibition of works by Benjamin Renoux that with reflections and icons associated with the mythological and historical dimension of photography.  Here there was a range of media as the artist explored his own relationship with the image.  Playing with effects of absence  the photographs, videos and sculptures are troubling, constantly engendering the double movement of mirroring reality and transforming this reality at the same time. His works deal with our relationship to photography through a critique of the fetish that the photographic object or image represent.

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