Paris Photo 2023
DANIEL BLAU is pleased to present three exhibitions at Paris Photo 2023, each one a special insight into a particular and fascinating facet of photography.
Exceptional NASA Pictures
These photographs draw us into the extraordinary world of American space exploration in the 1960s and 70s. During this period of historically groundbreaking discovery, every achievement of the Space Race became a global sensation, and this once - fresh sense of wonder, awe and inspiration lives on in these photographs. They represent not only the significance of this period for scientific innovation, the advancement of technology and the furthering of mankind’s knowledge of the universe, but also the artistic capabilities of such phenomenal images to transport the viewer, instantly igniting emotion and curiosity.
Featuring photographs taken on such celebrated missions as (among others) Friendship 7, Gemini 4, Apollo 11 and Mariner 9, this exhibition takes us into the heart of the early space exploration. A photograph taken on the Apollo 11 crew’s return journey to Earth shows the Moon as it had never been seen before - a conquest of humanity, a glittering prize newly-won. The first ever EVA (extravehicular activity) – or spacewalk – performed by an American is shown in an oversized photograph of Ed White during Gemini 4. The palpable silence of the image reflects its wondrous subject, and the insufficiency of words to produce a response to the sight of it. Mariner 9’s photographs of the Martian surface describe another historically unprecedented encounter with the Solar System; as the first spacecraft ever to orbit another planet, its over 7,000 images of Mars reflect the ambition and intellectual hunger of NASA of this era. Another photograph in this exhibition was taken by John H. Glenn, Jr. during Friendship 7, the solo mission upon which, in February 1962, when became the first American to orbit the Earth. His color photograph of the brilliantly - lit space particles he famously described as ‘fireflies’, for lack of knowledge to explain them at the time, awakens the sense of fascinated mystery with which the world then viewed space, and which drove the determination of scientists to seek, scrutinize and attempt to ‘solve’ it.
Masterworks of Photo Retouching
The second of DANIEL BLAU’s exhibitions at this year’s Paris Photo showcases the striking and unusual effects of photo retouching in the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
During this time, the potential to alter the perceived meaning of a photograph was explored to thrilling effect. Retouching using a stylus could add detail, reinforce lines, enhance contrast and easily bring any element of the photograph to the fore. The introduction of gouache allowed dramatic emphasis to be created. Being so dark and impenetrable, it could also subtly obscure a photograph’s features as desired by the editor, or create impactful silhouettes, as we see in “Exercises”.
Among these photographs are also several amazing examples of the art of airbrush. A small, handheld tool that was originally invented in 1879 by the American Francis E. Stanley, the airbrush combines paint with blown air to enable a smooth, even application of pigment across a surface – a spraying technique which can be thought of as a precursor to the spray-paint canister of today. Stanley used the airbrush to colorize images, but it can also add entirely new visual elements to a photograph, as this exhibition demonstrates. For example, the light translucency of the airbrush used on “Normandy, France: Ours Not to Reason Why” gives the cross its ghostly, ethereal appearance, exquisitely embellishing both the subject matter and the artistic meaning of the image.
This curation of photographs exhibits the capacity of photo retouching to evoke a sense of the unexpected, of surprise, curiosity, imagination and experimentation, and to add layers of complex, nuanced messaging to captivating, existing photographs whether satirical, commercial, historical or political.
Daido Moriyama – New Works
This exhibition features 22 new paintings Japanese artist Daido Moriyama based on photographs he had taken in New York City in 1971. These pictures perfectly encapsulate Moriyama’s unmistakeable style of his trademark strong contrast. Here the artist achieves an incomparable sense of atmosphere by using his concept of are, bure, bokeh (meaning grainy, blurred and out of focus) to document his immediate surroundings – the everyday occurrences of New York City encountered by his camera.
Each canvas displays two consecutive exposures in a single negative, the result of Moriyama’s own modification of his 35mm camera; the artist chose these moments spontaneously but communicates them with much more consideration. By showing us each instant from two perspectives at once, Moriyama invites us closer to them, letting us begin to absorb whatever intangible, fleeting impulse it was that prompted him to take out his camera.
Download press release Paris Photo 2023
ONLINE VIEWING ROOM
Grand Palais Éphémère
Vernissage (by invitation only):
November 8, 2023
5 pm – 9 pm
November 9 – 11, 2023
1 pm – 8 pm
November 12, 2022
1 pm – 7 pm