6 Booths to Seek Out at AIPAD’s Photography Fair in New York That Will Make You Rethink Portraiture

There's a lot to see this year.

Aïda Muluneh, Both Sides, (Memory of Hope Series) (2017). Courtesy of The Artist, and Jenkins Johnson Gallery.
Aïda Muluneh, Both Sides, (Memory of Hope Series) (2017). Courtesy of The Artist, and Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

Calling all shutterbugs! This year, AIPAD’s Photography Show, New York’s most prominent photography fair, is setting up at new midtown digs at Center 415 on Fifth Avenue between 37th and 38th Streets.

For the fair’s 41st edition, it’s bringing together some 49 galleries from nine countries. And as always, all exhibitors are members of the prestigious Association of International Photography Art Dealers.

Call us traditionalists, but we were particularly captivated by this year’s selection of photographic portraits, from an image of a 17-year-old Sarah Bernhardt to a Zanele Muholi’s striking portraits of the Black queer community in contemporary South Africa. 

Below, check out our picks for a few things worth seeking this year.

Felix Nadar’s Portrait of a 17-Year-Old Sarah Bernhardt

Felix Nadar, Sara Bernhardt Bernhardt at 17 Years (c. 1861). Courtesy of Keith de Lellis Gallery, New York

Felix Nadar, Sara Bernhardt Bernhardt at 17 Years (c. 1861). Courtesy of Keith de Lellis Gallery, New York

In 1861, the incomparable stage actress Sarah Bernhardt, then 17, posed for the famous photographer Felix Nadar. She was just beginning her extraordinary and successful career. Famous throughout the world for playing heroes as well as heroines, Bernhardt’s celebrity anticipated the phenomenon of late-20th-century media stars. The portrait will be one of the highlights at Keith de Lellis Gallery, which will present a thematic exhibition of both formal studio portraits and informal street photography, with a focus on the work of Black photographers of the mid-20th century.

Zanele Muholi’s Visions of Queer South Africans

Zanele Muholi, Manzi I, West Coast, Cape Town (2021). © Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson.

Zanele Muholi, Manzi I, West Coast, Cape Town (2021). © Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson.

South African artist and visual activist Zanele Muholi is known for their striking black-and-white portraits of South Africa’s LGBTQIA+ community. New York’s Yancey Richardson will be presenting a series of recent portraits at the fair. Concurrently, Muholi is the subject of the exhibition “Being Muholi: Portraits as Resistance” at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Michal Chelbin’s Teenage Ukrainian Sailors

Michal Chelbin, Maksim and Vitally, Ukraine (2018). © Michal Chelbin. Courtesy of ClampArt, New York.

Michal Chelbin, Maksim and Vitally, Ukraine (2018). © Michal Chelbin. Courtesy of ClampArt, New York.

Israeli photographer Michal Chelbin is known for her striking portraits of teenagers around the world. For her 2021 book, How to Dance the Waltz (Damiani 2021), she photographed teenagers decked out in military garb, extravagant debutante gowns, and even matadors ensembles. The images are tender, though the garments hang strangely on the figures’ slight frames. Chelbin recently traveled through Ukraine and Spain exploring both cultures’ relationships with youth and uniforms. Not to be missed is Chelbin’s powerful portrait of two young Ukrainian sailors, Maksim and Vitally, Ukraine (2018), which will be on view at ClampArt, New York.

Dorothea Lange’s 1930s Portraits of the Taos Pueblo Indians

Dorothea Lange, Taos Pueblo Indian girls (1931). Courtesy of Richard Moore Photographs, Oakland

Dorothea Lange, Taos Pueblo Indian girls (1931). Courtesy of Richard Moore Photographs, Oakland (1931). Courtesy of Richard Moore Photographs, Oakland

In 1931, Dorothea Lange, with her two young sons and then-husband, the artist Maynard Dixon, traveled to Taos, New Mexico, where Lange made a series of portraits of native residents of the nearby Taos Pueblo over the course of seven months. Richard Moore Photographs of Oakland, California, will be presenting a selection of these vintage contact prints, which are probably unique. These images are a welcome departure from the formal studio portraits of wealthy San Franciscans that made up the bulk of Lange’s photographic output at that time, and signal the direction her WPA work would take later in the decade.

Marcia Resnick’s Ravishing Images of
New York’s 1970s Downtown Scene 

arcia Resnick, She Would Rendezvous in her Bed With the Sandman Every Night, From Re-visions (1978).Courtesy of Deborah Bell Photographs, New York

Marcia Resnick, She Would Rendezvous in her Bed With the Sandman Every Night, From Re-visions (1978). Courtesy of Deborah Bell Photographs, New York

In the 1970s and ’80s, Marcia Resnick made striking portraits of the era’s downtown New York creative communityLater this year, Resnick will be the subject of her first museum exhibition which will originate at Bowdoin College Museum of Art before traveling to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York. At the fair, New York’s Deborah Bell Photographs will present work from Resnick’s 1978 series “Re-visions.”

Baldwin Lee’s Scenes of the Black American South

Baldwin Lee, DeFuniak Springs (1984). Courtesy Hunters Point Press/Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

Baldwin Lee, DeFuniak Springs (1984). Courtesy Hunters Point Press/Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

Baldwin Lee, a first-generation Chinese American, took a 2,000-mile road trip through the American South in the 1980s. A student of Walker Evans, Lee photographed Black Americans at home, at work, and at play, creating one of the most piercing and poignant bodies of work of its time. A selection of photographs from the series will be on view with Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

The Photography Show presented by AIPAD will run May 20–22, 2022, with a preview day, May 19, 2022. Click here for more information. 


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