James Danziger Gallery represents the crème de la crème in the world of fine photography. How do you define your success?

The essential for success in the photography business is a love and knowledge of the medium. I have been focused on photography since I was a teenager and have been lucky enough to be part of an explosion of interest in the medium over the last 25 years.

You opened your gallery 1990, is there any experience that you have fond memories of? Do you have a favorite exhibition or event that happened at your gallery?

I can honestly say that I have enjoyed 99% of the shows I have put on. I have also moved the gallery more times than anyone else and I have always enjoyed the challenge of moving and the new neighborhoods I have gotten to know as the energy of the art center of New York has moved from Soho to uptown to Chelsea to the Lower East Side.

How do you think it evolved over the last 26 years?

Along with an increasing interest in photography across all platforms, the internet and art fairs have played a huge transformational role in our business. It used to be that having a gallery was the main base of activity. Now it is one part of a multi-level operation.

What is your secret? What differentiates your gallery from the others?

Every gallery has it’s own particular history and aesthetic. What I hope differentiates my gallery is our focus on work that is harmonious as opposed to dissonant but still has great integrity and importance to the history of the medium.

Do you usually work with specific curators or strictly with a core team?

I curate all of our shows. I couldn’t do it any other way.

How do you find the artists you represent?

They come in all different ways but nearly always with my approaching them. Sometimes I might see someone’s work in a magazine or book. Sometimes I’ll see new work at an art fair or museum show. As long as they’re not represented by a colleague they are fair game.

What kind of relationship exists between you and the artist?

It differs from artist to artist. Some people leave a show completely in my hands while others want to control as much as they can. I think my responsibility is to manage their work well, though, before being their best friend.

What role do photo/art fairs play?

Photo and art fairs have now become one of the most important parts of our business. Many people would rather go to art fairs than galleries. And why not? They’re great fun and you can see a lot of work at once. But hopefully art fairs also serve the purpose of bringing people to the gallery to get a more in depth look at work.

What exhibition do you plan for the first edition of PHOTOFAIRS San Francisco 2017?

The idea I’m working on is to do a show on the theme and depiction of faces. It is an area in which photography was revolutionary allowing people for the first time to see what people they had only read or heard about actually looked.

Which artist/s will you be showing?

This theme will encompass many of the great names of the medium such as Edward Weston, Richard Avedon, Seydou Keita, Diane Arbus, Evelyn Hofer and Hendrik Kerstens. And many more!

How many international photo/art fairs do you do yearly and which ones?

We do a pop-up show in London during Frieze week and then fairs in Miami, New York, London, and now of course San Francisco.

Who are the artists new collectors should pay particular attention to?

We have been very excited by the abstract work of Liz Nielsen as well as the conceptual work of Corinne Vionnet.

Do you have advice for people who want to purchase good contemporary photography but are not yet sure of their own tastes?

Go to galleries, art fairs, and auctions just to look. Avoid going after the famous images that everyone else has. Read all the reviews and articles you can. And engage the gallery owners and directors in a real dialogue.

What do you think is the pathway into the gallery industry in 2017?

There are two parts to the gallery business. Who you show and you know. You have to figure out both parts if you’re going stand a chance of making it!

– Joe K Schwarz