Classic Photographs Los Angeles builds community around images

Paul Outerbridge’s 1955 self-portrait in Santa Monica is featured in this year’s fair

By Sarah Ahern

Classic photography never goes out of style. From daguerreotype prints to Instagram posts, it’s an art form that has not only expanded the definition of art, but also who can participate in art.

This weekend at Bergamot Station Art Center, more than 30 exhibitors from North America and Japan pay homage to the art form during Classic Photographs Los Angeles, a boutique art show focused on vintage, modern and contemporary photography.

Works on display and for sale cover a diverse cross-section of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, but the show maintains Los Angeles as its center.

Jo Ann Callis, an L.A.-based photographer whose work is rooted in surrealism and fabrication, is showing “Black Sun,” a collection of sunbathing silhouettes on concrete that relies heavily on shadow play.

“I’m interested in how things feel — the tactility of things in relation to the body,” Callis says of her work. “It’s more metaphor for a state of mind, something beautiful and yet edgy, anxious yet sensual, round against flat — feeling two things at the same time.”

Classic Photographs Los Angeles is also community. The event took shape nine years ago when 10 gallerists and photography dealers broke off from the larger Photo L.A. to form a more intimate event.

“Boutique-scaled fairs are as important as ever because they not only reinforce an established community, but build a new one,” says co-originator Amanda Doenitz.

Classic Photographers Los Angeles opens from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and continues from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 2, 3 and 4) at Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Admission is free. Visit for an event map.