Wednesday night, November 15, 2006, opened the important photography event Paris Photo. In the Carroussel du Louvre which is somewhere underneath the Mona Lisa.
Huge spaces filled with booths where galleries from around the world show their merchandise. In fact, it is a very confusing event because most galleries show a selection of what they have and the poor spectator in the end is confronted with thousands of images of hundreds of photographers without a theme or subject. It is like being bombarded with images making the mind dull. There is a maximum a human being can visually absorb and Paris Photo has the ambition to find out how far it can stretch this. At the same time, Paris Photo is very popular. Thousands of people come. Either by invitation or by paying 15 Euros. Surround thousands of images on temporary walls by thousands of people and a sane person would call this a madhouse.
However, before we call the men in white, we must understand that Paris Photo is not about seeing images per se like it was a serious exhibition. Especially opening night has as a purpose to meet people. To make new contacts if possible. To open new bussiness-lines. To see friends again. And to admire the girls because maybe they hope to be discovered by a photographer to get into a successfull modeling career, the most stunning girls Paris has in stock, show up at Paris Photo.
It was not for this reason that Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski was not looking at the thousands of pictures of Paris Photo. He is just not very interested to see the work of other photographers. Most of the time it is not interesting and pollutes the eyes and consciousness. When it is interesting, he gets seriously jealous and in a very bad mood.
What he in fact does is looking at the people who visit in the thousands Paris Photo and he is trying to imagine why they came. Who they are. If they are really a couple. If their tan is from their healthclub solar imitator or straight from Tahiti. Those imaginations, which can be really absurd and weird depending of the persons observed, are in fact images much more interesting than the thousands on the temporary walls.
Because Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski is in this bussiness of photography for over 36 years and well-established in Paris having had his first exhibition in this beautiful town in 1972, he meets at an event like Paris Photo many people he knows. Some he likes to see again. Some not. And some come to him while he has no clue who they are. He needs to apply the strategy of being friendly and having the conversation going to find somewhere, somehow the key to remember who the person is, in the shortest time possible. This is a very dangerous process because not everyone in the bussiness deserves friendliness. While others do not deserve an attitude of being reserved.
It is basically an enjoyable experience to walk around at an event like Paris Photo observing the visitors and meeting people who are friends.
But Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski had beneath this joy a serious and disrupting feeling of sadness and disappointment. It had been planned he would have been at Paris Photo with a friend who he believes is one of the most remarkable persons he has met in many years. He longs to be in her company but she cancelled the Paris trip to go to India. Now he feels how wonderful it would have been to have had the experience of Paris Photo together and he needs to find now a way to regain his inner balance.