Photo San Francisco's audience was up about 250 people from last year's 3,500, despite show management being warned by the Fort Mason Center personnel that most shows this year at the Center were off 20% from previous years. But this second year show bucked the trend even in the face of some dire headlines from Hewlett-Packard and JDS Uniphase, which announced major layoffs in the Bay area the week of the show.
Most repeat dealers I talked to reported similar or slightly increased business from the previous year, although it seemed like it was a smaller number of actual buyers who made the sales happen. There was also a modest increase in the number of exhibitors and photography dealers. The weather was largely overcast with the typical San Francisco fog, but it managed to clear to bright blue skies on several occasions. The temperature is the low 60s to 70s was a welcome change from the sweltering heat and humidity of the East Coast. Clearly this is a show that will do very well once the local economy recovers from its technology industry-induced recession, perhaps even eventually overshadowing its older sibling Photo LA.
The show itself seemed to work out its first year kinks, as set-up and teardown went much smoother for most of the exhibitors. Show management even added some landscaping this year, although promised carpeting apparently never showed up.
Richard Misrach was one of the featured speakers. A panel session on photography collecting also provided some educational emphasis to this event.
The next major exhibition on the West Coast by Cohen's show management will be Photo LA, which will be held January 17-20, 2002 at the Santa Monica Civic Center.