Held annually since 1997, Paris Photo is one of the world's most prestigious photography art fairs. It takes place at the magnificent and expansive Grand Palais building on the Champs-Élysées, which is so huge that they manage to pack 190 exhibitors from 29 countries while still allowing their art full room to breathe.
This year's fair is also connected with two big names. Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is the guest of honour, sharing his personal favourites from the thousands of artworks on show. Rock legend Patti Smith is also curating a section of work. You probably won't get to see either in person, but their involvement adds an extra dash of energy and inventiveness that's one of the reasons Paris Photo still feels alive and fresh, 21 editions in.
To get technical, there are actually four fairs in one at Paris Photo. The main event consists of 151 galleries from 29 countries, offering a panorama of photography from the 19th century to today, with 29 solo shows and 12 duo shows. There's also the Prismes sector, which is dedicated to large formats, series, and installation works; the Book sector, bringing together work from 32 publishers and art book dealers from eight countries; and a Film and Video sector.
But on the whole, what's basically on offer is a kaleidoscope of photographic and visual inspiration that you'll need at least three solid hours to take the measure of.
While in no way professing to be a 'best of' list (that would be impossible), here are some of our favourites that we spotted along the way...
1. Kenro Izu
Kenro Izu is a Japanese-born fine art photographer based in the United States. With a focus on sacred ancient stone monuments, Buddhism and Hinduism, he is the recipient of the 2007 Lucie Awards’ Visionary Photographer award.
2. Valérie Belin
Valérie Belin is a French photographer who won the 2015 Prix Pictet on the theme of "Disorder". She is represented by Edwynn Houk Gallery.
3. Mahtab Hussain
Mahtab Hussain is a British artist exploring the important relationship between identity, heritage and displacement. His themes develop through long-term research, articulating a visual language that challenges the prevailing concepts of multiculturalism.
4. Denis Dailleux
Denis Dailleux is a French photographer living in Cairo. His photographic work appears calm on the surface, yet is run through by an undercurrent of constant self-doubt and propelled by the essential personal bond he develops with his subjects.
5. Matthew Pillsbury
Born in France, Matthew Pillsbury is an American photographer living in New York. His work has been exhibited in major museums and art galleries across the globe.
6. Mickalene Thomas
Mickalene Thomas is an Afro-Amercian artist known for her complex paintings made of rhinestones, acrylic and enamel. Her work examines ideas around femininity, beauty, race, sexuality, and gender.
7. Scott Conarroe
Scott Conarroe is known for his large-format studies of both natural landscapes and the built environment. He has exhibited widely across his native Canada and in 2013, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship.
8. Yasumasa Morimura
Yasumasa Morimura is a Japanese appropriation artist who has has been working as a conceptual photographer and filmmaker for more than three decades. Through extensive use of props, costumes, makeup, and digital manipulation, the artist transforms himself into recognisable subjects, often from the Western cultural canon.
9. Weronika Gesicka
Weronika Gesicka is a Polish photographer whose work revolves around memory and its mechanisms. She is interested in both scientific and pseudoscientific theories, mnemonics and various disorders associated with it.
10. Christian Tagliavini
Swiss-Italian photographer Christian Tagliavini loves designing stories with open endings, requiring the observer’s complicity, on unexplored themes or unusual concepts. His work commonly features uncommon people with their lives and their thoughts made visible.
Main image courtesy of Paris Photo 2017