Last night, Netscape News stopped by the opening reception for Photo LA, the three-day international photo fair held in Santa Monica, California. Although it lacks the prestige of New York's AIPAD, the West Coast annual does have the distinction of being the biggest photo expo in the U.S. More than 60 galleries, the majority of them located in California, have booths at this year's show. "For galleries, it's really about showing off the artists that you represent," said Justen Daly, of the Los Angeles-based Jan Kesner Gallery.
About 800 people--a mix of collectors, artists, photographers, and curators from museums like the Getty--attended last night's opening party. Sales were brisk: a rare Andy Warhol print sold for $9,000 in the first hour, while an Irving Penn photograph priced at $45,000 drew gawkers. (Kathryn Hennon, a Los Angeles resident who attended the show with her husband, sounded nonplussed by the numbers. "The prices are expensive," she noted. "But market.") Other items on sale included rare works by Gyorgy Kepes, Harry Callahan, Walker Evans, and Diane Arbus. Yet the show also paid the contemporary scene its due, with Los Angeles favorite John Humble and the Chicago-based Ben Gest getting plenty of attention. (The shot above is by Gest.) Photo LA runs through Sunday, January 21, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditiorium in Santa Monica, CA. (Thanks to Marla Aufmuth for photos of last night's party!)