AIPAD President Martijn van Pieterson On Imagemakers and the Future of The Photography Show

Observer caught up with van Pieterson to chat about this year's edition of The Photography Show.

A man wearing glasses with a gray goatee smiles for a picture
Martijn van Pieterson. Courtesy AIPAD

Photography! Sure, it’s fun to tap upon it as it streams past our hypnotized eyes for hours on end, but also fun to collect as art. This week marks the 43rd edition of The Photography Show, presented by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) at the Park Avenue Armory. Though single-medium art fairs can be difficult to produce and overwhelming to take in, AIPAD’s—the premiere American photography fair—showcases why this particular medium continues to astound. (Did you catch Richard Prince’s early photography at Gagosian? What a genius that guy is.)

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Observer caught up with AIPAD’s president Martijn van Pieterson to hear about The Photography Show 2024, which opens today (April 25).

Please tell me a little about this year’s Photography Show. What’s new that might surprise visitors who came to last year’s edition?

The Photography Show is returning to the Park Avenue Armory this year, a move that is eagerly anticipated by the organization and its member galleries, given its location and grandeur. The scale of the venue is allowing us to produce a more complete event celebrating the medium of photography than in previous years, with a full roster of top-quality galleries, from classic and historic to contemporary and cutting edge, but also with a section for publishers and rare book dealers and a dedicated space for our celebrated talks program.

You’ve served as the AIPAD president for one year. Where do you see the fair going in the future?

We have a multi-year contract with the Park Avenue Armory, which will let us build out our platform and audience in the coming years. We are strongly focused on making AIPAD the most important global event for photography, attracting top talent in terms of galleries and artists as well as curators and collectors from around the world, and I am confident that this edition will be the important first step in that direction.

Why do you think photography remains such a vital medium?

Photography can be whatever you want it to be, a medium to register, to share, to create… It is accessible and therefore understandable to all, but only in the hands of a true artist can it consistently make an impact.

SEE ALSO: Monet’s ‘Meules à Giverny’ Is Coming to Sotheby’s for the 150th Anniversary of Impressionism

How would you say technology has changed our relationship with photography in the past decade?

Like with every aspect of life, technology is making an enormous impact on photography, too. The image culture spearheaded by social media and fueled by smartphones has made everyone an imagemaker. Technology has also allowed artists to examine the medium more deeply and has created in some a hankering for old processes and materials.

What changes have we seen in the market for photography in recent years?

The market is more balanced now between classic and contemporary photography, and there is a new generation of superstars who can rival the great classic photographers. There is a strong focus on process and materiality and also diversity is an important subject.

Are there any particular booths that visitors should be sure not to miss?

I hope visitors will take the time to view everything that is on offer at the fair but would certainly recommend checking out the booths of our associated members. These are younger galleries that often operate on the cutting edge of the medium.

AIPAD President Martijn van Pieterson On Imagemakers and the Future of The Photography Show