Paris, California

Hassan Hajjaj V.B.F., 2013

Paris Photo LA, the Los Angeles iteration of the French photography fair, arrives at the legendary Paramount Pictures studios this weekend. Here seven must-sees.


Ralph Gibson, at Etherton Gallery When it comes to sex, sometimes what you can’t see is more titillating than what you can. The subjects in Ralph Gibson’s understated erotic pictures offer a wink and a nod—an out-of-focus torso, a pair of pursed lips—with a surrealistic suggestion of backstory. It’s Man Ray meets E.L. James.

Photo courtesy of Etherton Gallery.


Liu Bolin, at Klein Sun Gallery We all feel invisible sometimes. The Chinese artist Liu Bolin began his “Hiding in the City” series by superimposing himself onto Beijing landscapes and cityscapes. Galvanized by the destruction of his studio, the pictures subtly protest the changing physical and political landscape of his homeland. At the fair, he takes on a different power: Hollywood.

Photo courtesy of Klein Sun Gallery.


Ren Hang, at Capricious 88 While some of the Chinese photographer Ren Hang’s more risqué work could be described succinctly as bondage-and-buttholes, his less subversive pictures, which also explore the sexual tendencies and fetishes of young Chinese, are similarly arresting—minus the shock value.

Photo courtesy of Capricious 88.


Unglee, at Galerie Christophe Gaillard Described as a “tulipomaniac,” the late Unglee is one of photography’s greatest mysteries. In fact, nearly all the information known about the eccentric artist is gleaned from his obit, which appears not in the Times but on an aluminum artwork of his own making. Self-mythologizing aside, the sensuality of his tulips have us blushing harder than the many nudes on view at the fair.

Photo courtesy of Christophe Gaillard.


Amir Zaki, at ACME Leave it to a native Los Angeleno to tame the ocean. Amir Zaki’s hyper-detailed images of choppy waters veer towards abstraction, in the process stilling the sea’s roiling motion.

Photo courtesy of the artist and ACME.


Jan Kempenaers, at Breese Little Gallery The Antwerp-based photographer Jan Kempenaers’s pictures may look like stills from a dystopian summer blockbuster, but they actually depict a more somber subject: World War II memorials still standing in the Balkans. Erected in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the monuments—weathered, eroded, and in some cases defaced—are haunting juxtapositions against the landscapes they interrupt.

Photo courtesy of the artist and Breese Little Gallery.


Hassan Hajjaj, at Gusford More colorful than an Opening Ceremony sample sale, Hassan Hajjaj’s celebrated images of Morocco’s hippest natives are a must-see. The pictures are an explosive clash of East and West—shutter shades with brightly patterned abayas, for example, bordered by Fanta cans or packs of Chiclets. This culture clash seems especially appropriate for a fair in Los Angeles named after Paris.

Photo courtesy of the artist and Gusford.