Inaugural Edition of China’s First Art Fair Dedicated to Photography Achieves Huge Success


Last Updated: September 16, 2014 5:24 pm GMT
(September 16, 2014) Thursday 4 September saw the launch of the most international photography art fair of the year – Photo Shanghai - at the world-famous Shanghai Exhibition Centre. Visitor numbers exceeded 25,000, over the duration of the fair with galleries recording exceptional sales.

© Honeybunn Photography
Opening evening. © Honeybunn Photography

The response from exhibitors, collectors, Chinese and international press and public alike is unprecedented in Shanghai for the medium, and indeed China. The Fair garnered interest for works from iconic vintage Americana to cutting-edge contemporary Chinese work from world renowned galleries including : CAMERA WORK, (Berlin); Fahey / Klein Gallery (Los Angeles); ShanghART (Shanghai); Pekin Fine Arts (Beijing); Flowers (London); A. Galerie (Paris).

Fair Director Alexander Montague-Sparey, (previously Head of Photographs at Christie’s London), comments: ‘The huge success of Photo Shanghai sets a new benchmark in the Asia Pacific region for collectable fine art photography. We have achieved what we have set out to do: To offer international collectors a brand new opportunity. We have witnessed over these four days, an incredible demand for the work we have exhibited at the Fair and we have seen incredible demand for vintage and contemporary work alike. Without exception, the world’s leading photography galleries go home excited at the prospect of our next edition. We look forward to offering work of the highest calibre to international collectors again next year’.

David Fahey of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, comments:
We are very excited to exhibit fine art photography in China and it has been great to see the Chinese audience get involved with photography. We have had a highly productive and successful fair and have sold many artworks.’

Steven Harris of M97 gallery, Shanghai comments:
“The first fair I think has exceeded people's expectations. There was a very good balance in style and diversity of galleries and artists exhibited at the fair. Photo Shanghai has the potential to shape, nurture and influence a relatively untapped market of photography collecting in China and greater Asia. The amount of education and experience that's being learned is immeasurable for the visitors. I'm very optimistic that years to come will only prove more and more exciting and fruitful for galleries, visitors and collectors alike.”

A high profile talks programme ran throughout the course of the Fair led by world renowned experts in their field, and included curators, experts, collectors, dealers and international photographers. Highlights included The Wall Street Journal’s photography director Jennifer Pastore in conversation with Alexander Montague-Sparey, Ruben Lundgren and Martin Parr - the show's curators - introducing the project to a Chinese audience for the first time, New York’s International Centre of Photography’s curator – Christopher Phillips - exploring the theme of Chinese Contemporary Photography in conversation with artist and Three Shadows Founder & Director, RongRong and a conversation with celebrated South African photographer Roger Ballen

Photo Shanghai is the brainchild of The World Photography Organisation - and aims to establish the most professional and international platform for fine art photography in the Asia-Pacific region.

Scott Gray, Managing Director of the World Photography Organisation comments:
“The appreciation of photography as collectable art is rapidly growing and nowhere has this been more apparent than at the inaugural edition of Photo Shanghai. We have been absolutely overwhelmed with the positive response from both dealers and collectors – and indeed the public. We are delighted to receive such enthusiasm from Shanghai and be able to provide this platform for photography in Asia.”

The Fair was Shanghai’s foremost international art fair taking place this year - and is of particular relevance with the current growing interest in photography and the art fair boom taking place in China. Some of the world’s most renowned galleries exhibited their photographer’s work and it proved to be a truly prestigious and successful Fair.

Paul Caponigro. Moth in Wood Bowl. ©2009 Courtesy of Timeless Gallery, Beijing.

Sandy Angus, co-founder of ART HK (now Art Basel Hong Kong) and Chairman of Montgomery and the World Photography Organisation comments:
“It was always my hope that we would get China thinking about fine art photography in this new way. The Fair Director has brought to the table curatorial clout and great expertise to achieve a high level, working with some of the best dealers out there. I am thrilled with the results and response. This sets us up very well indeed for future editions.”

Examples of photographers whose work was exhibited at the Fair include: Nick Brandt, René Burri, Edward Burtynsky, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Patrick Demarchelier, Yang Fudong, André Kertész, Peter Lindbergh, Steve McCurry, Daido Moriyama, Martin Parr, Robert Polidori, Herb Ritts, Sebastião Salgado, Josef Sudek and Edward Weston.

The eastern part of the Brooks Range in Alaska. Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery. © Sebastião SALGADO / Amazonas images

The Photo Shanghai VIP programme included a Private Collectors Summit and Forum at which 30 leading photography collectors and experts from around the world, who explored the current opportunities of the international photography market, ensuring Shanghai welcomes and hosts some of the most influential photography collectors in the world. This included a visit to Zhang Huan’s studio and a private tour of the Yuz foundation.

Photo Shanghai also hosted the first Beijing Photo Biennale’s exhibition: “Contemporary Photography in China, 2009 – 2014”, curated by Wang Huangsheng, its artistic director, Director of CAFA and the foremost curator of photography in China.

Wang Huangsheng, comments: “Photo Shanghai, as an event of the highest calibre, will definitely bring enormous changes to the development of photography art in China in many aspects, including academic research, professionalization, standardization, market development as well as public awareness”.

Li Ningchun, Director of N-Minutes Festival, created a cutting edge programme especially for the inaugural fair, establishing the connection between video art and photography, with a focus on Asia Pacific and Western artists.

Leading partner -Maserati – announced the winner of the newly formed Neptune Photography Contest – Nadia Navarro from Argentina. The supports up and coming photography artists with the winning images displayed at the Fair. The annual Modern Weekly Photography Awards, from Established to New Generation, announced the winners at the Fair –Wang Ningde for the Established Artist award and Shan Feiming for the New Generation Award. iArtFair launched for Photo Shanghai galleries, extending the physical art fair to reach across China.

Other leading partners include: Sony, The Wall Street Journal - the principal international media partner of Photo Shanghai - with Modern Media acting as the Chinese media partner. A full list of partners can be viewed at

Photo Shanghai is supported and advised by a board of international industry professionals including: Wang Huangsheng, Director, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing; Christopher Phillips, Curator, ICP, New York; Francis Hodgson, Financial Times Photo Critic and co-founder of the Prix Pictet, London; Lise Li, Founder and Owner, Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai; Jeffrey Boloten, Co-Founder & Managing Director of ArtInsight Ltd, UK; W.M Hunt, Photography Consultant & Collector, New York; Zelda Cheatle, Portfolio Manager & Curator, London; RongRong, Photographer, Founder & Director, ThreeShadows +3 Gallery, Beijing; Wang Zhonglei, President, Huayi Brothers Media Corporation, Shanghai; Lisa Botos, Curator and Art Consultant.

Photo Shanghai will next take place in September 2015 at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre:

Galleries that took part at Photo Shanghai 2014 are as follows:

• A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu
• A. Galerie, Paris
• amanasalto, Tokyo
• AO Vertical Art Space, Hong Kong
• ATLAS Gallery, London
• Ayyam Gallery, Dubai
• C.A.M. GALLERY, Istanbul
• C14 Gallery, Shanghai
• Chambers Fine Art , Beijing
• Chandelier, London
• Contemporary Art Projects, Florida
• Czech Center of Photography, Prague
• Fahey / Klein Gallery, Los Angeles
• Flowers, London
• Galerie & Edition Stephan Witschi , Zurich
• Galerie Dumonteil - Shanghai, Paris, New York
• Galerie Photo12, Paris
• ifa Gallery, Shanghai
• In The Gallery, Copenhagen
• Inter Gallery, Beijing
• kunst.licht Photo Art Gallery, Shanghai
• M97 Gallery, Shanghai
• Magnum Photos
• MD Gallery, Shanghai
• OFOTO Gallery, Shanghai
• Pe?kin Fine Arts, Beijing
• Peter Fetterman Gallery - Santa Monica, CA
• Riflemaker, London
• see+ Gallery, Beijing
• ShanghART, Shanghai
• SIPACHINA , Beijing
• Tasveer, Bangalore
• ThreeShadows +3 Gallery, Beijing
• Time Space Gallery, Beijing
• Timeless Gallery, Beijing
• Tristan Hoare Gallery, London
• Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai

About Alexander Montague-Sparey, Fair Director

Alexander Montague-Sparey is an independent photography expert, curator and art advisor. As the Fair Director of Photo Shanghai, he is responsible for the overall strategy and creative direction of the first photography dedicated art fair in China.

During his four year tenure as Director, Specialist Head of Photography at Christie’s London, Montague-Sparey positioned his department as the European market leader. In his time with the company, he worked with the biggest dealers and collectors in the field and achieved several world auction records. He is noted for creating new auction markets for contemporary photography.

Prior to working at Christie’s, Alexander was the curator of the selling exhibitions photography, contemporary art and design programme at Phillips de Pury & Company. He holds a Master’s degree in the History of Art from the University of Oxford. Born in Geneva, he is a native French speaker.

About World Photography Organisation

WPO supports professional, amateur and student photography, lending a global platform for the photographic industry to communicate, converge and showcase current trends in Photojournalism, Fine Art and Commercial photography. Delivering various initiatives and programmes across this global community, these programmes involve the photographer in commercial, cultural and educational activities within the many industry sectors, whilst also creating cultural activities for the public to participate in. Currently included within the WPO portfolio are: Photo Shanghai; the Sony World Photography Awards; the World Photography Student Focus Competition and Youth on Assignment.

About Montgomery

Montgomery is at the forefront of trade and consumer shows in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, was the co-founder of ART HK, now Art Basel Hong Kong, and manages other fairs including Art14 (London), ArtInternational (Istanbul) and India Art Fair (Delhi).


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