Get ready for international inspiration, visual stimulation, new photographic insights, and — quite possibly — image overload.

Lens Culture is pleased to be a partner with Paris Photo again this year. We are delighted to present our preview selection of more than 200 photographers from the show. And believe it or not, this is just an appetizer for this year's event.

 From November 13 to 16, 2008, Paris Photo, the world’s leading fair and marketplace for photography, will showcase the works of more than 500 international photographers and artists from all continents, presented by 107 exhibitors from 18 countries (USA, France, Japan, Germany, Spain, the UK, Holland, Italy, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, South-Africa, South-Korea, Australia and India).

 Thanks to a new initiative at the fair, you can expect to discover lots of fresh, exciting, never-seen-before photography, since more than a third of the exhibitors are presenting work at the fair for the first time. Plus, this year, the special “guest of honor” focus is photography from Japan.

This promises to be an exceptional overview of Japanese photography from 1848 to 2008. From the press release:

 “Photography has been one of the most intense and major areas of Japanese culture since it was first introduced in the country in 1848, towards the end of the Edo Period. Paris Photo has pulled together work by more than 130 artists, from the Meiji era to 1930’s avant-garde movements and the post-war years through to the most contemporary production. To date, no exhibition in Europe has brought together such a large number of Japanese photographers. “About thirty galleries will feature Japan’s great classic masters (Shoji Ueda, Ihei Kimura, Masahisa Fukase, Eikoh Hosoe, Shomei Tomastu) and contemporary artists (Hiroshi Sugimoto, Nobuyoshi Araki, Daido Moriyama, Naoya Hatakeyama). The Statement Section, comprising eight invited Japanese galleries, and the Project Room dedicated to video art, will present the work of a young generation of artists mainly born in the mid-sixties and the seventies. A publishers’ space will highlight the central role of photo books in the Japanese photography scene."

Independent curator and photography critic Mariko Takeuchi is curating this year’s “Spotlight on Japan”. 

Other unexpected delights this year include one-man shows for several major contemporary artists (Boris Mikhailov, Martin Parr, Dayanita Singh, and Alec Soth) and thematic, museum-like hangings (“19th Century Sculpture Photographs”,  “40 British Calotypes”, “The School of Chicago”, and “Theater and Life”).

Since it is virtually impossible to really “see” everything in one day, seasoned visitors enjoy the fair for hours at a time, then take a break to enjoy Paris in the autumn (the Tuileries Gardens and the River Seine are just outside), and then return to soak in some more of the buzz over the four days of the fair.

Paris Photo is also a great place to meet up with the who’s who in the world of photography. There are plenty of opportunities to meet the artists, since they are on hand to talk about their work and to sign books.

So, sit back with a good cup of coffee and enjoy our preview.