Photo LA & Photo Miami
Stephen Cohen, Founder; Alex Novak, Participating Gallerist
When Alex Novak represents an artist, he has to like the artist—not just the work. The art has to be interesting, the artist articulate, someone who understands the process in his or her work and can speak intelligently about it.
Lisa Holden’s photo-images excite him. “People respond to her art,” he explains. “They say it’s the most exciting, fresh work they’ve seen. It crosses so many collectors’ interests. It’s powerful, dramatic, passionate.”
Photo-art like Holden’s raises photography to another level; it has made photography fairs the next big thing for collectors. It crosses genres. It’s large, not just in size—Holden’s prints are six feet tall—but also in purpose.
Stellar artists like Holden and great galleries have contributed to the longevity and success of Photo LA. Launched 19 years ago from a living room, the photography fair is the brainchild of Stephen Cohen and remains his most successful show. With its mix of contemporary and traditional, vintage prints and mixed media, Photo LA caught on from the start and continued to grow. “We burst at the seams,” Cohen smiles.
The bursting seams led Cohen to open a second show, Photo Miami, three years ago in the city’s trendy Wynwood District.
With a background in film, assembling a top-flight photography show comes naturally to Cohen, as does organizational skill. He attributes success to “a certain basic intelligence that allows me to organize these fairs.”
And, while he has organized 40 different fairs, he remains enthusiastic about photography. “It’s an exciting world,” he smiles.