There was more vintage material to be had in Paris, on Sunday during this busy week. Photo Paris Vintage Fair was a tabletop fair organized by Bruno Tartarin and held at Le Pavilion Wagram on three levels. This was a triumph for Tartarin and he showed the photo community that a tabletop fair could be a success.
He had put it together with great skill. The charge for the exhibitors was deliberately kept low, 100 euros, ensuring strong participation, with 62 dealers in all, from France, U.K., U.S., Germany, Austria and Denmark. He had also put real effort into promoting the fair
Sure, the quality of the material on offer varied widely. There was a fair amount of tat, but there was also some top-notch prints here, and I saw real treasures offered by Arnaud Delas, Richard Meara, Daniella Dangoor, Roland Belgrave, Andrew Daneman and many others.
I was also pleased to finally meet a number of dealers I had only dealt with online previously, including ZK Images and Rainworld.
Later on I caught up with Daniella Dangoor and Roland Belgrave to hear their comments. Dangoor told me, "I thought the venue was quirky but what I loved was the energy and anticipation, not seen at any previous table-top fair. Bruno had promoted it well, and everyone was there, thanks also to the appeal of Paris Photo. There were the usual suspects who used to come to London, although I'm not sure how many new collectors turned up. The material was very uneven, covering all aspects of the photography spectrum. I did sell, to a curator I had been in touch with and to a collector I knew but hadn't seen for a long time, so it was positive. I only bought or swopped with known dealer-collectors. I just had time to rush through the fair, and wasn't in a buying mood."
Belgrave was equally positive, "Compared to previous efforts over the years to host a satellite photography fair, devoted to mainly vintage material, this year was above average. Good space, good marketing and a buzz! The space was attractive and close to Paris Photo. Some good clients turned up too. I bought very well, including a great archive relating to Indochina among other superb items! Affordable prices too. Also found a rare early photo book for peanuts! I sold well, not amazingly, but lots of trading and swapping. A few interested parties to follow up."
And when the fair drew to a close, the exhibitors gave Tartarin a heartfelt round of applause. It was well earned. He is now planning fairs in April and November next year.
Michael Diemar is a long-time writer about the photography scene, in addition to being a collector, curator lecturer and ex-London gallerist (in 2009 opening Diemar/Noble Gallery). He has written extensively for several Scandinavian photography publications, as well as for I Photo Central.