Bill Owens "Hockney Painted this Pool," 1980. Archival pigment print, 20 x 24 inches. Courtesy PDNB Gallery (Dallas).
Louise Dahl-Wolfe "Jean Patchett, Grenada, Spain," 1953/1980s. Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches. Courtesy Staley-Wise Gallery (New York).

For the past thirty-five years, the AIPAD Photography Show New York has championed the photographic medium as well as the dealers who specialize in the field. Organized by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers’ (AIPAD), the show, which has emerged  as one of the most highly anticipated annual photography events in the world, is the longest-running exhibition dedicated to the medium. According to Catherine Edelman, the president of AIPAD and the director of the Catherine Edelman Gallery, “We’ve gone from being a table-top hotel fair to the Park Avenue Armory -- arguably the most prestigious exhibition space in New York City. The growth of the AIPAD Show is reflected in the quality of the dealers and the quality of the venue -- the fair has truly been refined over the years.”

This year’s show, which is open to the public April 16-19, 2015, features eight-nine of the world’s top fine art photography galleries, including Catherine Edelman Gallery (Chicago), ClampArt (New York), Edwynn Houk Gallery (New York/Zurich), Howard Greenberg Gallery (New York), James Hyman Gallery (London), Peter Fetterman Gallery (Santa Monica), Steven Kasher Gallery (New York), Throckmorton Fine Art (New York), and Scheinbaum & Russek (Santa Fe). Works on view span from the nineteenth-century to the present day, providing a sweeping view of the medium. Edelman says, “The AIPAD Show presents everything from the first photographic pieces ever made to pieces made last week, so to say. That’s the strength – the history of photography is presented in one room by people who are true experts in what they’re exhibiting.”

Ray K. Metzker "Ohio," 2001. Silver gelatin print, 20 x 16 inches. Courtesy Laurence Miller Gallery (New York).

While the AIPAD show is historically rooted in vintage works, the fair has an eye on the future. Photography has always been a breeding ground for experimentation and as the medium continues to evolve, so do the forms and techniques. In addition to traditional works, the AIPAD Show presents photo-based pieces that incorporate video, painting, sculpture, and more. Edelman says, “Each year the fair gets stronger and stronger in the contemporary realm and I expect to see a great increase in new media this year.” She adds, “The history of photography is already written, we know who the masters are. The younger galleries, most of whom exhibit contemporary work, show us what’s happening today.”

Margaret Bourke-White "Backstage – Burlesque Chorines," 1936. Silver gelatin contact print, 16.8 x 12.0 cm. © Margaret Bourke-White © Life. Courtesy Daniel Blau (Munich/London).

A number of exhibiting dealers are known for discovering works by celebrated photographers and debuting them at the AIPAD Show, which leads Edelman to believe that this year’s fair will include a number of rarely seen works by early masters. So far, it has been revealed that Daniel Blau (London/Munich) will unveil recently discovered contact prints by Margaret Bourke-White of burlesque dancers backstage in 1936. The works, found in the archives of the National Endowment for the Arts, her employer at the time the pictures were taken, have not been seen by the public since the 1930s. Other highlights at the AIPAD Show include an iconic 1919 portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe by her husband, the legendary photographer and gallerist, Alfred Stieglitz from Edwynn Houk Gallery; a portrait of model Jean Patchett by the seminal fashion photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe from Staley-Wise Gallery (New York); a selection of works by the modern master Ray K. Metzker from Laurence Miller Gallery (New York); Bill Owens’ iconic Hockney Painted this Pool, which was included in the photographer’s famous Suburbia series and book from PDNB Gallery (Dallas); and works by pioneering photographers Ansel Adams and W. Eugene Smith from Barry Singer Gallery (Petaluma).

AIPAD aims to promote communication within the photographic community as well as encourage the public appreciation of photography as art -- goals that are exceeded at it annual show. Edelman says, “Visitors can learn so much about photography in a single day. It’s rare that people have access to 80+ dealers in a room that are all experts in their field -- that’s a real gift to the public. We are a member fair and we have ethical standards that must be upheld and one of them is being an authority in your field. Yes, we’re there to sell and that’s part of the goal of exhibiting, but we’re also there to teach and share our knowledge about whoever may be on the wall. We bring these works for a reason -- because we want to showcase them, we want to talk about them, and we want to introduce new works to an audience that is truly there for the photography.”