It’s nearly Spring again and we will soon face a flurry of photo fairs here in Europe. My favourite, and a regular haunt, takes place in the small town of Bièvres, some 25 km south-west of Paris, not far from Versailles.
This year, 57th annual International Photography Fair covers the weekend of 6th and 7th of June and, as usual, will attract buyers and sellers from all over Europe. The exhibitors take over much the centre of the town and the event has an open-air carnival atmosphere. Don’t forget to pack and umbrella, however.
My main interest, of course, is in Leica but you can find new and used cameras from all manufacturers. There is usually a big contingent of dealers in old plate cameras and early brass lenses which, it seems, have a huge following.
Leica fans have a lot of choice but you have to keep your wits about you. The dealers, in particular those from the UK, are out in force early in the day and they take no prisoners when it comes to pouncing on the bargains.
There’s no doubt, though, that you can find bargains if you keep your eyes open — perhaps a nice M3 or M6 body at what would be considered “trade” price.
I can certainly recommend a visit and I suspect that those who do go tend to return year after year. It’s worth booking up accommodation as soon as possible if you don’t want to have to travel too far.
Here is the organisers’ release which gives full details of what to expect:
When you hear “Bièvres”, you immediately think “photography”. This small town in the Essonne has been synonymous with photography for more than half a century now. Its Fair is one of the major international events for photography buffs including collectors, amateurs and professionals. It is an open-air event organised by the Paris Val-de-Bièvre Photoclub with the support of the Bièvres municipal authorities and displays a wide range of antique photography equipment as well as an artists’ market (on Sunday).
Not content with its past successes, the Fair has innovated from year to year, adding a market for new equipment and services, talks by professionals, exhibitions and other events. Careful preparation goes into each year’s edition, and then for one weekend, Bièvres becomes the photo capital of France and beyond!
SECOND HAND AND ANTIQUE PHOTOGRAPHY MARKET: THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE FAIR
With more than 200 exhibitors, 30% from outside France, this market is renowned for its quality and its diversity. Here camera collectors can find all sorts of photographic equipment, often rare, from the 19th century (magic lanterns, stereoscopes, photographic chambers, glass plates) as well as cameras from the beginning of the 20th century or even more recent, all at affordable prices. Movie buffs can find movie cameras, projectors, posters and production stills.
There are also collections of photos and postcards, books, equipment and accessories (photo paper, film, flashes, tripods or monopods, lenses and enlargers).
NEW EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES MARKET: NOT TO BE MISSED
The new equipment market, co-sponsored by Phox, offers the latest developments in equipment and accessories. Most major brands are represented. Expert technicians will be on hand to answer your questions, provide advice and allow you to try out their products. This is the ideal place to buy new equipment at special Photo Fair prices.
The services market offers services such as printers, specialised travel agencies, and products for film photography and development.
THE 13th BIEVRES ENCOUNTERS: STYLE AND SUBSTANCE
Through talks and round table discussions, this is an opportunity to increase your knowledge of different aspects of photography including equipment, technical and practical aspects, travel photography, and the list goes on. All talks are given by specialists or renowned photographers and are followed by a Q and A session.
SPOTLIGHT ON CLAUDINE DOURY
Under the auspices of the town of Bièvres, the Fair organises a major exhibition each year of the work of a leading photographer. After Denis Bourges, Olivier Culmann, Isabel Muñoz, Claude and John Batho, Jane Evelyn Atwood, the work of Claudine Doury will be highlighted this year.
A member of Agence Vu, represented by the In-Camera Gallery, Claudine Doury lives and works in Paris.
In her photography, she explores notions of memory, transition and passage, particularly through adolescence and travel, her favourite themes. She has published six monographs and participated in numerous individual and group exhibitions.
In 2017, she won both the National photography commission for “Youth in France” and the Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière-Académie des Beaux-arts award. In 2004 she was awarded the Nièpce Award for lifetime achievement. In 1999 she won the Leica Oscar Barnack prize as well as a World Press Award for her series entitled “People of Siberia”.
Two exhibitions of her series: Sasha and Loulan Beauty
In Sasha, she shows the portrait of a teenaged girl somewhere between dream and reality, between childhood and adulthood, a complex transition which she describes with great delicacy. Nature is always present (forests, water, fields, snow…). It is a dreamlike world, strange and mysterious, attractive and intriguing.
Loulan Beauty describes a world gradually disappearing into the sands of time, a journey through post-Soviet central Asia and Chinese Xinjiang.
Loulan Beauty tells the story of the people from the centre of the world, heirs to long-gone kingdoms, fishermen without a sea, children who dance to bring back their parents who have gone far away to find work, Lola who dreams of America, men who listen to the sand singing and young girls with thousands of braids just like Loulan, their ancestor from 4000 years ago:— CLAUDINE DOURY.
SUNDAY IS ARTISTS’ DAY
Having one’s work recognised at the artists’ market at the International Photo Fair is a great honour. Each year, amateur and professional photographers show their work either individually or in groups, in covered stalls displaying the multiple facets of photography.
In 2020, the jury will be presided by Clémentine Semeria, iconographer and project manager for the Tendance Floue agency. She will choose the members of the jury who will award to one of the auteurs participating in the artists’ market the Jean and André Fage Award as well as up to 5 other prizes including a young photographer’s award and an award for analogue photography or antique processes photography. All of the awards are generously endowed by our sponsors.
A MULTITUDE OF EVENTS
You may have your portrait taken in a pop-up studio (Sunday), or place your head in a hole in a cutout booth (Saturday and Sunday).
Work may be submitted to a portfolio review (15€ by reservation only) highly appreciated by amateur photographers as an aid to improving their technique. There will be various demonstrations of alternative processes among others. A Photothon stand will collect antique equipment for display in the French Museum of Photography. The town of Bièvres will be organising once again “Bièvres has got talent”, a photography contest open to inhabitants and members of photo clubs from Bièvres. The photos selected will be enlarged and displayed in the streets of Bièvres until mid-July. The Paris Val-de-Bièvre Photoclub will also propose a competition around the theme of the Fair.
Plan your visit: Saturday June 6 from 1 to 7 p.m. ; Sunday June 7 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (artists’ market from 9 a.m) Admission free – Place de la Mairie de Bièvres (Essonne – France).
Claudine Doury Exhibition – from June 1 to 3: Grange aux Fraises and Maison des Photographes et de l’Image Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a break from 1 to 2 p.m; Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
How to get there
- By car, 17 km from the Porte d’Orléans by A6/A10
- By public transit, RER C: gare de Bièvres
Website : http://www.foirephoto-bievre.com / Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Foire.Photo.Bievres/