99+ Exhibitions, Festivals, and Fairs: Our Guide to Photography in Paris this Month

carolle bénitah - # 13 Corpuscule lamelleux - série ce qu'on ne peut pas voir - courtesy  galerie 127

#13 Corpuscule lamelleux © Carolle Bénitah. Showing at FotoFever. 

Year-round, Paris is one of the premiere cities in the world for photography. The city’s photographic history is rich and iconic and the contemporary scene is diverse and vibrant. But every November, photography really takes center stage. Anchored by Paris Photo, one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious photo fairs, the city’s offerings in the month of November have proliferated with each passing year. With at least 100 events happening over the next month, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. If you can make it to Paris, this brief guide will help you make the most of your trip. If you can’t, settle into your chair and enjoy our virtual tour of the city.

Fairs and Festivals
Paris Photo — Grand Palais, November 14-17

We already previewed this great event on LensCulture, but no list of photography events in Paris would be complete without mentioning Paris Photo. Check out our large selection of preview picks as an appetizer for this year’s largest ever event — 136 galleries and 28 photobook specialists.

LensCulture Fotofest Paris — Speos Photographic Institue, November 11-13

Now in its fourth year, LensCulture Fotofest Paris has established itself as a part of the city’s November events. If you didn’t sign up for a portfolio review, you can at least come to Meet the Artist Night where you’ll have the chance to see cutting-edge, largely undiscovered artists’ work. This year’s event will feature 90 artists coming from 36 countries. Save the date: Tuesday 12 November, 6:30-8:30 PM only.

Fotofever — Carousel de Louvre, November 15-17

While Paris Photo has taken over the Grand Palais, this new festival, now in its second year in Paris, has moved in to the Carousel de Louvre. This festival is geared towards younger, less well-known work and prides itself on its affordable prices and “fiery atmosphere”. If Paris Photo seems too overwhelming (or expensive), this could be a fun alternative.

PHQ4 — On the Quai Branly, September 17-November 17

This outdoor exhibition offers a unique view through the eyes and lenses of other lands and people, made by insiders, and offered on a world stage. With works from all corners of the globe, the show brings us rarely seen perspectives in photography.

Salon de Photo — Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles, November 7-11

Alongside all of the art, this industry trade-show is a showcase for photographic innovations and the latest equipment and software used to make the final product. This year’s event will also feature artists’ talks, an award presentation, and a special photography exhibition on the work of Raymond Cauchetier.

St. Germain des Pres FestivalParticipating galleries in the 6th arrondissement, November 6-23

The third edition of the photo festival in Saint-Germain-des-Près. It will present a unique photographic journey around roughly forty places in the scenic sixth arrondissement of Paris, based on the theme ‘Visages et Corps’ (Faces and Bodies).


A colony of chinstrap penguins, from the series “Genesis” © Sebastião Salgado. Showing at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie

Museum Exhibitions

Brassaï — Hotel de Ville, November 8 to March 8

“For the Love of Paris” is a show which tells the extraordinary story of passion — the passion that this great city has evoked in artists for the past century. Over the course of 50 years, Brassaï captured his inspirational new home and the lives of all the others who were drawn to the city. If you don’t have the time to explore Paris on your own, you can do worse than see it through this master photographer’s eyes and lens. The show is free, which is great, but expect a line.

Sebastião Salgado — Maison Européenne de la Photographie, September 25 to January 5

This blockbuster show, “Genesis”, brings together 245 prints from one of the most revered and popular photographers working today. This is the largest collection ever assembled of Salgado’s work. The exhibition is the quest for the origins of the world and stands as a tribute to our splendid, fragile world.

Erwin Blumenfeld — Jeu de Paume, October 15 to January 26 

Erwin Blumenfeld’s eclectic career spans decades and genres: fashion, photography, video, advertising, collage, montage and drawing. From satirical photomontages of Hitler to black and white nudes, Blumenfeld spent his lifetime pushing at the limits of every visual medium at his disposal.

Raymond Depardon — Grand Palais, November 14 to February 10

One of the great living French photographers, this exhibition focuses on the artist’s lesser appreciated color ouevre. The show, which is being held in the same building as Paris Photo, focuses on Depardon’s two great loves — the great outdoors and the solitude of cities.

cohen04_boys_smoking (1)
Boys Smoking © Mark Cohen. Showing at Le Bal.

Gallery Exhibitions
Davide MonteleoneChapelle des Beaux-arts de Paris, November 8 to December 4 

As the winner of the 4th annual Fondation Carmignac, Davide Monteleone received a 50,000 euro award to pursue a project in photojouranlism. His work took him to Chechnya and Monteleone returns with a piercing series, titled “Spasibo”.

Mark CohenLe Bal, September 27 to December 8

While many great artists have been drawn to the bright lights and promise of world cities like Paris, New York and London, American photographer Mark Cohen found himself continually drawn back to his hometown: Wilkes-Barres, Pennsylvania. In this humble setting, Cohen photographed for 40 years, developing a distinctive street photography language that rivals that of any masters from the genre.


We could continue to list more gallery exhibitions, but given these 99 suggestions on What do in Paris of photography exhibitions alone, we decided to leave the rest to you, our reader.

Share YOUR discoveries with all of us via TwitterFacebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., tagged with   #LensCulture   if you see any great photography in Paris this month. Happy viewing!

—Alexander Strecker

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