“It’s so good to back!” I heard those words a lot at Paris Photo last year, as the 24th edition, after two cancellations due to the pandemic, finally got underway in Grand Palais Éphémère. Paris Photo is the one event in the calendar that truly brings together the international photography world, not just for the purpose of buying and selling but to connect and reconnect with friends and colleagues.

There was therefore both shock and disbelief when it was announced just a few weeks after the fair, that Paris Photo, alongside the art fair FIAC, would have to compete for their dates at Grand Palais Éphémère. Soon there were rumours flying about that there had been hostile takeover bids from Art Basel, put forward with the intention of starting an art fair and a photography fair at the venue. But exactly what kind of photography fair was not clear. If ousted, Paris Photo would have had to look for a different venue and two big photography fairs, one a decidedly unknown quantity, in the same city, seemed unrealistic. And down the line, would one or both have imploded? In a wider perspective it also seemed more than strange, that the powers that be would be willing to risk Paris’ role as host to the world’s number one photography event. As it turned out, Paris Photo remained, while FIAC did not. When I brought up the subject with Françoise Paviot in my interview with her in this issue, she commented, “Paris Photo received spontaneous support from the entire profession, one could even say from a community, which was not the case for the FIAC fair.”

Some, it would seem, take the photography community for granted. Most realised just how important the community was to them during the pandemic, and the work it requires, not just to keep it alive but make it flourish.

The Classic has sprung out of that community and while the inhouse team is small, it relies on numerous people to make each issue happen, the interviewees of course, as well as Denis Pellerin, Richard Meara, Matthew Butson, Stephen White, Robert Flynn Johnson and the other authors who contribute to The Classic Platform, the many who lend material, and all
those who provide all manner of practical information. We couldn’t make The Classic without them.

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