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Foire internationale de la Photo in Bièvres : Pentti Sammallahti  


The 60th edition of the Foire internationale de la Photo in Bièvres presents a major exhibition by Finnish photographer Pentti Sammallahti.

The Foire internationale de la Photo was created in 1964 by Jean and André Fage. At that time, it was not uncommon to come across renowned photographers such as Marcel Ichac, Marcel Bovis, Paul Almasy, Jean Sibet and Man Ray in its alleys. Still organized by the Photoclub Paris-Val-de-Bièvre with the support of the Municipality of Bièvres, it has become, over time, the major meeting place for collectors and amateurs, recognized for its second-hand and photographic antiques, its new market and services, its artists’ market and its photographers exhibitions. It welcomes nearly 250 exhibitors.

After Patrick Bard, Jane Evelyn Atwood, Isabel Muñoz, John and Claude Batho, Olivier Culmann, Denis Bourges, Claudine Doury, Patrick Tourneboeuf, Xavier Lambours, the photographer invited by the Municipality of Bièvres is the Finnish artist Pentti Sammallahti, represented by the Camera Obscura gallery.

This is one of the largest exhibitions of the artist offered in France, after the Mois de la photo, the Rencontres d’Arles and the Maison Doisneau in Gentilly.

65 prints from different series will be exhibited at the Grange aux Fraises and at the Maison des photographes et de l’image.

In his work, Pentti Sammallahti combines poetry, humanity and humor. He has always been attentive to photography as a concrete object and the work of printing is truly an integral part of his work. His prints are unique due to the skilful interpretation of light, the choice of tones (subtle coloring by chemical reaction) and the paper. It is this perfectly maintained chain, from looking, to shooting, then to the translation on paper, which contributes to the exceptional success of his work.


Pentti Sammallahti was born in 1950 in Helsinki into a family of artisans (his father was a goldsmith). He is the grandson of the photographer Hildur Larsson, of Swedish origin.
From his adolescence, he began to practice photography and printing with passion. He joined the Helsinki Camera Club at age 14.
He studied art history, musicology and mathematics at university, but did not obtain a degree.
His first personal exhibition took place in 1971 and recognition for his work came very early since he received the Finnish National Photography Prize at the age of 25 (a prize he won again in 1979, 1992 and 2009).
In 1991, the granting of a state artistic scholarship for a period of 15 years allowed him to leave teaching and devote himself to his work.
The Camera Obscura gallery has exhibited Pentti Sammallahti regularly since 2002.


Once upon a time : La Foire de Bièvres

The first Foire à la Photo was born, under the leadership of Jean Fage, founding President of the Photo-Ciné-Club du Val-de-Bièvre (created in 1949), on Sunday June 7, 1964 in the open air, on the tables of the Bièvres market. It welcomed around forty artists (including Man Ray, Lucien Lorelle, René Jacques, Pierre Ichac, Paul Almasy, Marcel Bovis, Etienne Bertrand Weil, René Maltête, etc.), 20 publishers, magazines, industrialists, photography clubs and societies, even the election of “Miss Photogénie”.

Jean Fage’s observation was that in the 1950s and 1960s, the market for photographic art was poorly developed. The Fair allowed amateur and professional photographers to present themselves to the public and sell their works.

The Fair became annual. Among the exhibitors, Izis, Emmanuel Sougez, Jeanine Niépce, Gisèle Freund. On June 7, 1970, the first “National Market for Photographic Antiques and Used Equipment” was added, in partnership with the magazine Photargus. This market became “international”. In 1979, the first “Fête des Photographes” set up studios for shooting models, an activity continued for many years. In the 1980s and 1990s, literary photography prizes were established, as well as auctions. A competition is organized annually among exhibitors from the artists’ market, judged by a jury of personalities from the world of photography, it allows us to distribute numerous prizes, richly endowed by our partners and institutions.

In 2008, the first “Bièvres Photographic Meetings” were created at the Fair, with speakers on various subjects and author signing sessions. Services (travel, printing, publishing) were added in 2010, and joined the new equipment and services market created in 2018.

Prestigious exhibitions, organized by the Photoclub Paris Val-de-Bièvre, the Bièvres Town Hall or the French Museum of Photography, events, pop-up studios, competitions, and other activities have gradually completed the markets of the Fair.

And the adventure continues, to the great pleasure of exhibitors, visitors, speakers, partners and members of the Photoclub. The Photoclub Paris Val-de-Bièvre continues to organize annually, in conjunction with the Bièvres Town Hall, the International Photo Fair in Bièvres, which has become one of the most important events in Europe dedicated to all aspects of photography.



Sat. June 1: 1 p.m.-7 p.m. – Sun. June 2: 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Artists’ market: Saturday 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

New and services market: Saturday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Free entry – Place de la Mairie de Bièvres (Essonne – France)

Access: 20 km from the center of Paris, 17 km from Porte d’Orléans, by A6/A10 or the D-906

RER C: Bièvres station



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