In today's image-saturated media existence, average people have thousands of photographs and videos stored on their smartphones alone — not to mention the proliferation of amazing photography on the internets. The photograph is the lingua franca of the modern world, and the urge to document, artsily filter and immediately disseminate pictures of every single person, place, thing, shadow, tree, sunset, pet, sculpture, building, cute pair of shoes, retro store sign, disco ball, old book and plate of food we encounter is irresistible. So why bother setting aside a whole weekend just to see yet more photographs? Because after 22 years, photo la still delivers a powerful and vivacious reminder that true, ambitious artistry and innovation are alive and thriving in the hands of international photography professionals. Galleries from around the world and select independent book publishers of the highest caliber gather for a new edition featuring photo la's most eclectic mix yet of the digital, analog, vintage, vernacular, retro, futuristic, documentarian and surrealistic strains that define the current state of fine-art photography. All that, plus a packed slate of docent tours, seminars and special events all day Friday through Monday, kicking off with a posh, camera-ready, opening-night party Thursday benefiting Inner-City Arts. Say wine and cheese! Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St., Santa Monica; Thurs., Jan. 17, 6-9 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 18-Sun., Jan. 20, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Mon., Jan. 21, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; $80 Thurs., $25 Fri.-Mon., $35 weekend pass, tours separately ticketed.

Jan. 17-21, 2013

LA Weekly