'Unedited! The LAPD Photo Archives': An inside look at the exhibition

'Unedited! The LAPD Photo Archives': An inside look at the exhibition
The photographer's will is felt here more than in other images from the same scene, Julien Frydman said, with an eye trained “to create the structure of the image. It’s a funny image: You can look at it upside down, you can look at it in reverse, and it still has same impact.” (LAPD / Fototeka / Paris Photo Los)

To Julien Frydman, a new exhibition of decades-old Los Angeles Police Department crime scene photos is not so much a collection of facts in black and white but rather one big ambiguous storm of gray, a trove of stories where truth isn't a neat circle but rather a shape-shifting cloud open to interpretation.

Co-curated by Frydman with Robin Blackman and Merrick Morton of L.A.-based fototeka, "Unedited! The LAPD Photo Archives" includes more than 80 forensic images taken from the 1920s to 1960s, culled from more than 1 million pictures archived at the City Records Center downtown. The exhibition is one of the draws at the Paris Photo fair, running April 25-27 in Hollywood.


Frydman, also director of the fair, said his "Unedited" selections are not just simple illustrations of crime scenes but rather complex stories, in some cases images in which the police photographer is clearly working to go beyond mere documentation. "You don't know if it's real life or film still," Frydman said: "They have a strong narrative, beautiful aesthetic, multiple layers of perfection."

The photos also take on new meaning given the setting of Paris Photo — the Paramount Pictures studio lot, with more than 80 exhibitors, artist signings and conversations with curators taking place amid sound stages, fake streets and other forms of the unreal real, Frydman said. "You are in between fiction and reality, which has a lot of to do with photography."

More details of the event can be found at http://www.parisphoto.com/losangeles.