Photo L.A. 2007, an annual exposition of fine art photography, and Art L.A., an annual exposition of contemporary fine art, are coming up back-to-back weekends in Santa Monica.

Photo LA displays run the entire gamut of photographic history, from early 19th century photographic experiments up to contemporary photography and photo-based art.

Photo L.A. begins with a preview reception, hosted by Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash fame, that will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation at 6 p.m. Thursday, January 18th. Tickets to the preview are $100.

Regular expo viewing hours are scheduled from noon to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, January 19th to 21st, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St., Santa Monica. Tickets are $20 for a one-day pass and $30 for a three-day pass.

Art L.A. viewing hours are noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, January 26th to 28th, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St., Santa Monica. Tickets are $15 for a one-day pass and $25 for a three-day pass. A preview reception, that benefits MOCA Contemporaries, is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, January 25th. Tickets to the preview reception are $50. Reception reservations, (213) 633-5381.

Modern works of sculpture, painting, installation, video and new media will be exhibited and sold at Art L.A.

At Photo LA, about 65 premier galleries and private dealers representing international and U.S. artists will have collections on display.

Participating Los Angeles galleries include Ace Gallery, Stephen Cohen Gallery, Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Craig Krull Gallery, Scalo, and Guye and Rose Gallery.

Galleries visiting from New York include Cohen Amador Gallery, Gitterman Gallery, Jenkins Johnson Gallery, Daneyal Mahmood Gallery, Yossi Milo Gallery and Yancey Richardson Gallery.

International galleries include Czech Center of Photography (Czech Republic), Hackelbury Fine Art (London), Picture Photo Space Inc. (Osaka), Serge Plantureux (Paris) and Galerie Esther Woerdehoff (Paris).

Highlights of the exhibition will include works by contemporary artists Robert Polidori, Larry Fink, William Eggleston, Tseng Kwong Chi, Joel-Peter Witkin, Nick Brandt, Loretta Lux, Pieter Hugo, Carrie Mae Weems, Mona Kuhn, Walker Evans, Diane Arbus, Edmund Teske, Berenice Abbott Weegee, Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Harry Callahan and Frederick Sommer.

The purpose of the event is to bring to the Los Angeles area an art world event that rivals the type of vibrant art culture events that take place in San Francisco and New York and help put Los Angeles on the map as an art world hot spot, according to show producer Stephen Cohen.

“In the past few decades, Los Angeles has established a major presence on the photographic art scene, and we look forward to welcoming an international retinue of galleries, artists, curators, collectors, critics and art enthusiasts to the city to appreciate the best art contemporary photographers have to offer,” says Cohen, who owns the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles and the Cohen Amador Gallery in New York. Cohen also organizes the Photo New York, Photo San Francisco and Photo Miami expositions.

Photo L.A. 2007 will also include lectures and collecting seminars. Admission to lectures is $10 each, and admission to collecting seminars is $80 for a three-day pass.

Guest lecturers include Anderson & Low, Jim Goldberg, Mona Kuhn, Todd Hido, Alec Soth and Robert Weingarten.

Mary Virginia Swanson, photography consultant, Stephen White, collector, historian and dealer in art photography and Virginia Heckert, associate curator of photography at the J. Paul Getty Museum, will address seminar participants.

Information, (323) 937-4659.

GARBER PANORAMA — Photographer Helen K. Garber, a 25-year resident of Santa Monica, will exhibit her panoramic view of the City of Los Angeles at the upcoming Photo LA 2007.

In the past, Garber has exhibited her work internationally at events including The 10th Biennale of Architecture in Venice, Italy in 2006. Her latest project is a six-by-40-foot, 360 degree panorama of the entire city of Los Angeles. This gargantuan photograph was taken from the helipad of Los Angeles’s tallest building, the US Bank Tower.

The piece is titled, “A Night View of Los Angeles” and due to its size, will be installed outside the front entrance of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to greet festival-goers.

“A Night View of Los Angeles” was originally commissioned by Ricky Burdett, curator of the 10th International Biennale of Architecture. The print was created on silk in Italy, and has now been reproduced in waterproof inks on vinyl in Riverside, California and made to withstand inclement weather, since it will be on view two blocks from Santa Monica Beach.

Jack Duganne, fine art digital printer, was the technical advisor to this painstaking and detailed project. The creative team involved used state of the art digital and stitching software to achieve results beyond what the software was created for. After the 20 images were stitched together digitally, Garber spent 80 hours in post production to complete the final image.

This photographic community is abuzz with articles celebrating the work in Photo District News, Photo Review, Focus, AntiLepsis (Greece) and upcoming in Camera Arts Magazine.