At Large  March 15, 2019  Jeremy Howell

Art Talk: AIPAD President Richard Moore on the 2019 Photography Show

Julienne Schaer © The Photography Show

The Photography Show 2018

Art & Object recently had the opportunity to chat with Richard Moore, the President of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD). We spoke to him about his career, the state of photography, and AIPAD's 2019 edition of The Photography Show. 

Courtesy AIPAD

Richard Moore

Jeremy Howell: You began your career as a graphic designer and art director, then became a gallerist, and now you are the President of AIPAD. Tell us about your journey. Do you remember the moment that you knew photography would be your lifetime career?

Richard Moore: When I made a commitment to being a full-time photography dealer in 2000 (after a 15-year career in design), photography had been an important part of my life since my first year of college in 1973. That year at the University of Oregon in Eugene was the first time I picked up a real camera and was also where I had any real exposure to the great art being produced by photographers. I enrolled in a class on the history of photography taught by Oregon photographer Bernard Freemesser. His class, with Edward Weston’s Daybooks as required reading, opened my eyes to the significance of photography as an artistic medium. 

I started buying photographs and attended my first AIPAD show in 1991. I soon was friendly with a few AIPAD dealers of vintage photographs and quickly became envious of their ability to surround themselves with so many wonderful photographs that were constantly changing as they bought and sold inventory. So, I found a way to join them by way of the shallow end of the pool. Once I made it to the deep end, I knew that I had to sink or swim and here I am.

JH: How have the AIPAD and The Photography Show changed under your leadership?

RM: This year’s Photography Show will be our third edition at Pier 94, and I feel that I have used the experience of the first two years to refine and fine-tune the show in ways that will further enhance the overall experience of attendees and exhibitors. The Photography Show is one of the few art fairs stewarded by its member exhibitors, and I am lucky to have an amazing group of board and committee members who continue to bring innovation and creative ideas to AIPAD and the Show. I expect more great things to come, so please stay tuned.

Julienne Schaer © The Photography Show

The Photography Show 2018

JH: As a gallerist and the President of AIPAD, how do you view your role as an advocate for photography?

RM: As a gallerist I am but one voice in many; as President of AIPAD I hope to speak as the collective voice of our members who represent every aspect of photography-based art from the daguerreotype to new media.  Fortunately, I have the top galleries and dealers who comprise AIPAD’s membership to also advocate for the medium through their exhibitions, publication programs, and involvement with institutions and the public. 

JH: Why do you believe the art fair as an institution is still vital in a world where art is increasingly being sold online?

RM: While online markets are wonderful ways to reach an audience of collectors all over the world, an art fair, like a physical gallery, gives the buyer and enthusiast the opportunity to view and experience the actual object, at scale, that they are considering purchasing. There is also the one-on-one opportunity to speak with an expert in real time with the art right in front of you. To me this is invaluable, especially when the photograph is vintage or a unique object.    

JH: The Photography Show has an incredible lineup of speakers this year. Were you looking for a single message or a broader approach when choosing speakers?

RM: We were looking to bring together a diverse community of prominent artists, curators, collectors, and writers. The idea was to create discussions where we could be inspired by their experiences, some of which are legendary, and hear some provocative and challenging voices. The feedback we are getting on the talks is excellent, and I am greatly looking forward to them.

Julienne Schaer © The Photography Show

The Photography Show 2018

JH: Alec Soth is playing an interesting role at this year's show. Could you tell us about his project and why The Photography Show wanted to partner with him?

RM: One of our AIPAD member galleries, Weinstein Hammons in Minneapolis has represented Alec for most of his career, and Alec’s work has been shown by them during The Photography Show on several occasions. The chair of our show committee, Julie Castellano, came up with the idea of inviting Alec to curate a special exhibition and Alec proposed the theme A Room for Solace: An Exhibition of Domestic Interiors, selecting from photographs submitted by exhibitors and comprising works from the 19th century to the present. We were thrilled and honored to have Alec accept our invitation, and he has approached the project with great enthusiasm, thought, and generosity. 

Alec’s curator statement concludes by saying: “With this exhibition, I want to take a break from the fractious public square of photography and wander quietly into people’s homes. Behind these doors I hope to find a sliver of solace in these unstable times. This special exhibition at The Photography Show will feature domestic interiors that speak to the possibility of finding refuge during turbulent times.”

This seems appropriate for the world we currently live in, and I can’t wait to see the exhibition, which I expect will be brilliant.

JH: What first-time exhibitors are you excited about?

RM: For one, I am excited for Arnika Dawkins Gallery from Atlanta. The gallery has exhibited with us the previous two show through our program that aims to nurture newer galleries. I am happy to say that Arnika Dawkins Gallery is now a member of AIPAD and will be showing in our main gallery section for the first time. We are also welcoming a number of well-established galleries exhibiting at The Photography Show for the first time, and we will debut a section of project spaces with galleries presenting single artist or themed presentations at this year’s show.

Julienne Schaer © The Photography Show

The Photography Show 2018

JH: What continues to make photography special/valuable in a world where everyone with a cellphone has a camera, and the world is increasingly saturated with images?

RM: Well, everyone with sight lives in a world of images as long as their eyes are open. I am reminded of something Walker Evans said about most people looking through their eyes but few actually seeing. A cellphone camera, or any camera, in the hands of most people is simply a means for recording and sharing a moment. So in a sense everyone can be a photographer, just as anyone with a Karaoke machine can be a singer on a certain level. It’s the quality of seeing, conceiving, and expressing that makes one an artist—and their work special and valuable.
 
JH: Much of photography that has happened in the darkroom now takes place on computers. How does photo processing differ with those two technologies?

RM: The best photography comes from the mind and heart of the artist, whether it’s the intuitive capture of a moment observed or as a medium for expressing a concept or a project executed over time. The process and materials are more important in some cases, but the reach of photography as art has left the confines of the darkroom long ago. While many artists use digitally-based processes for prints or new media, some combine other media with photography, and many continue to use using film and printing paper in traditional ways or in creative new ways. Artists continue to push the definition of photography using both digital and analog processes, and I am continually surprised by the innovative techniques.

About the Author

Jeremy Howell

Jeremy Howell is the Co-Founder and Editor of Art & Object. 

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