Photo Finish

Photo LA buildings

What was the best part of Photo Independent this year? Held once again in its 4th iteration at The Reef in DTLA, there were over 156 exhibitors, and it’s difficult indeed to choose.

Photo LA Kitchen

Photographer E.F. Kitchen was awarded “Best in Show,” the result being a booth at Photo Independent next year.

Here are a few of the highlights in a strong exhibition attended by over 3500 art lovers this year:

Photo LA Martin Cox

Photographer Martin Cox created photographs of images far removed from the LA zeitgeist: beautiful, wintery images of snow in Iceland. The images are from a landscape series Cox created during a residency in Iceland.

Photo LA Olie

Also far from LA: the work of Olie Marius Joergensen from Norway, justifiably dubbed “one of the top six photographers to watch” at the fair. Ethereal images with mysterious softness.

Photo L A Andy Burgess

Andy Burgess, a U.K. native now residing in Arizona enjoys working in analog rather than digital images, and his photographs have a lush aspect reminiscent of noir filmmaking. The artist is launching his own Dark Spring Press to create limited edition photography books for individual artists.

Photo LA Jane



Jane Szabo’s new series Family Matters was on display – stunningly realized simple images of still-life objects on dark backgrounds that pulse with life.

Photo LA Jane wide shot

Szabo infuses inanimate objects with history and resonance and creates visual poetry.

Photo LA Richard Chow

Photo LA Richard Chow 2

Richard Chow’s luminous Urbanscape created sculptural looks at city life.

Photo LA Donn Dleson

Donn Delson’s aerial landscapes dazzled with rich abstract takes on the world from above.

Cathy Immordino

Cathy Immordino explores a fantasy landscape with a vibrant palette.

Photo LA Cathy 2

…And generously invited attendees to step inside her world. The Mars-like foreground was shot at Trona Pinnacles near Death Valley National Park.

Photo LA jessie Chaney

Jessie Chaney’s porthole-like views of the sky are haunting and quiet.

Images. Many at Photo Independent remain in the minds-eye, strong and potent.


  • Genie Davis; Photos: Genie Davis and courtesy of artists

PhotoLA – A Snapshot of Time

Photo LA Welling

What the eye sees, what the camera sees, what the eye of the beholder of what the camera sees: that’s PhotoLA.

The art renaissance that is taking place in Los Angeles is coming to a momentous peak this January, with PhotoLA the first in a string of large scale events including the LA Art Show, Fabrik Expo, and Art Los Angeles Contemporary, which are all opening this week.

PhotoLA was held last weekend at The Reef,  the cavernous 2nd floor space at LA Mart in DTLA. The opening night gala, benefiting Best Buddies, was crowded for the event’s tribute to Los Angeles artist James Welling.

The city’s longest-running art fair, PhotoLA ran the gamut of cutting edge pieces, historical photos, stunning landscapes, political art, abstract photos, and pop art. Eclectic panels populated the weekend, too, including provocative subjects such as “The Instagram Effect: How Instagram is Changing the Way We See Photography”; “Robert Mapplethorpe: Beyond Good and Evil”; and “Artists Take Issue: Perspectives and Practices in Activist Photography.”

What was our take? A wide range of exceptional pieces, with a number of standout independent photographers and curated group exhibitions.

Photo LA Welling

The honoree of the opening gala, James Welling. This post-modern photographic artist has a storied career experimenting with a variety of photographic mediums from digital prints to Polaroids.

Photo LA Weller

Some visual highlights: below, the haunting and riveting work of Kathy Curtis Cahill, whose art is dedicated to revealing “how fragile young children are, and how everything matters in the home environment.”

Photo LA 3

Fascinating historical photos – and the  music of David Bowie.

Photo LA Bowie

Photo Pop Art – the striking and amusing work of Marianne Hess.

Photo LA Haas

National Geographic landscape stunners – sometimes a straight forward shot of natural beauty evokes feelings beyond what is seen.

Photo LA landscape

Below: a delightfully different approach to scene: the fine work of Osceola Refetoff, also a panel speaker on activist photography moderated by Shana Nys Dambrot. Refetoff’s work, among other cutting edge pieces, was curated by VICA, the non-profit Venice Institute of Contemporary Art.

photo LA Osceola

Below: the opening night crowd viewing PhotoLA  – reflected in a San Francisco skyline.

photo LA san fran

Artist Jeffry Sklan’s enormous – and enormously beautiful flowers, below. Impressive detail and color.

Photo LA Sklan

Artist Sklan  below – photo by Nina Bonyak

photo LA sklan 2

To sum up: Photo LA presented an international eye on the world, vibrating through the lens of many Los Angeles area curators and artists. What you see is literally what you “get” out of interpreting an artist’s own unique vision of the world.

  • Genie Davis