Photo London: must-sees and impressions

By Aina Pomar - Sunday, May 24, 2015
Photo London: must-sees and impressions

Photography lovers in London are having a great time this week. Photography professionals in London are having a busy and hopefully profitable time this week. Photo London opens its doors from 21 to 24 May in Somerset House with the aim to be as competitive in the art market as Paris Photo. Despite having around half the size of its French counterpart, Photo London starts with intensity and strength, with over seventy exhibitors, an excellent public programme, publishers, live events, awards and five exhibitions. The fair has joint efforts to put London on the International Photography map.

Photo London: must-sees and impressions

Photography lovers in London are having a great time this week. Photography professionals in London are having a busy and hopefully profitable time this week.

Photo London opens its doors from 21 to 24 May in Somerset House with the aim to be as competitive in the art market as Paris Photo.

Despite having around half the size of its French counterpart, Photo London starts with intensity and strength, with over seventy exhibitors, an excellent public programme, publishers, live events, awards and five exhibitions. The fair has joint efforts to put London on the International Photography map.

One of the potentialities of the fair is the venue, which occupies three wings of the neoclassical building of Somerset House. This space allows hosting a great part of the exhibitors in small rooms and display the works in a more art exhibition orientated approach. Although might be quite labyrinthine, it escapes from the art fair model of huge space divided by panels.

With this structure and the great amount of galleries and artists displayed one gets a feeling of being visiting a diversified fair. As in all art fairs one can glimpse the year’s trends by noting the recurrent works at the booths - a few galleries repeated with David Bowie and Iggy Pop’s portraits and others followed the beautiful but already over used trend of intervening vintage portraits with geometrical coloured patterns. In any case, Photo London is able to find a balance in its display integrating a wide range of areas including contemporary, masters, classical, emergent and publishers. 

© Aina Pomar

Among this great demonstration of photography there are galleries with a diverse background, most of them standing out for its high quality. Some must-see booths picks include established London galleries: 

  • NY and London Flowers Gallery brings a very special selection of photographers with some outstanding and sensual Mona Khun’s images, playful Julie Cockburn’s and exotic Lorenzo Vitturi’s.
  • Mobile made of sewed vintage by Maurizio Anzeri photographs dominates the booth of Print Sales at The Photographers’ Gallery, which also displays works by Elliott Erwitt, Martin Lindqvist and Pentti Sammallahti.
  • Michael Hoppen Gallery is one of the foremost exhibitors of photography in the UK and has one of Europe's largest collections of photography. On the occasion of Photo London, their busy booth shows, among others, the saturated Dublin portraits ‘i’ by Eamonn Doyle, black and white pictures by David Goldblatt and images of Ishiuchi Miyako’s dresses for Frida Kahlo (currently on show at the gallery).

© Aina Pomar. Flowers Gallery

Mona Kuhn, AD 7272, 2013:14, courtesy Flowers Gallery 

© Aina Pomar, ‘i’ series by Eamonn Doyle at Michael Hoppen Gallery

A great part of the galleries offer art works by classic masters of photography and 20th century artists, such as Atlas (London) and Rose Gallery (Santa Monica). Other remarkable galleries are:

  • James Hyman, one of the leading specialists in nineteenth and twentieth-century vintage photography in London, gives the visitors the chance to see unique pieces by the fathers of photography. The enigmatic Eugène Atget is displayed beside other delicate pieces, like an expensive Fox Tabott photograph that needs to be covered when sunlight slips through the windows.
  • Timothy Taylor (London), showing some of the most famous works by Diane Arbus with other more intimate and unknown confirms that is impossible not to fall in love with photography when contemplating Arbus private world.
  • Amana (Tokyo) specialises in platinum and palladium prints, limited edition photographic prints, books and portfolios with world's renowned artists and photographers. All the visitors should go seeing the exquisite prints and editions by Keiichi Tahara, Araki and other excellent Japanese and European photographers.
  • In Camera, a Parisian gallery founded in 2008 representing and promoting 20th century and contemporary photographers, shows, among other works, images of The Men in the Cities series by Robert Longo (1979). 

© Aina Pomar. James Hyman Gallery

© Aina Pomar. In Camera gallery

Contemporary photography is the main protagonist at Photo London with hundreds of works by emerging and established authors. Louise Hilbronn (Gallerie Polaris), Lynda Goldblatt and Alexander Gronsky (The Wapping Project Bankside), Francesco Jodice and Alinka Echeverria (Gazelli) are some of these contemporary artists. We also highlight:

  • Tristan Hoare Gallery (London) focuses on emerging and established international contemporary artists. Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre stunning photographs of abandoned old theatres are shown along the African master Malick Sidibé, the blackboards project by Alejandro Guijarro and the images of the necropolis in (the sadly currently on media) Palmyra by Ursula Schulz-Dornburg.
  • Christophe Guye Galerie (Zurich) is a contemporary art gallery focused in conceptual artists using photography as a medium. Highlights of this gallery are the evocative self-portrait by Jun Ahn, a powerful image of fire and sky by Rinko Kawauchi and part of the series Talking to Ants (2009-2012) by Stephen Gill, featuring objects and creatures that the artist sourced from East London and placed into the body of his camera.
  • Ravestijn Gallery (Amsterdam) brought four artists that shared a certain ability to express mystery through collage and geometries. Ruth van Beek plays with photography cutouts to build enigmatic scenarios, while Françoise Lepage plays with collage to reconstruct feminine bodies in domestic spaces. Eva Sternan plays also with what is hidden and what is a shown taking women body in intimate atmospheres. Darren Harvey-Regan uses black and white to show geographical photography sculptures. 

Jun Ahn, Self-portrait (Seoul) Copyright of the artist, courtesy of Christophe Guye Galerie

'Still Here' by Lydia Goldblatt, The Wapping Project

© Aina Pomar. Francesco Jodice at Gazeli gallery

© Aina Pomar. Tristan Hoare Gallery (London)

Photo London dedicates the special section ‘Discovery’ to emerging galleries. Among the eight participant the following ones stand out: 

  • Ibasho, one of the youngest galleries at Photo London, opened two months ago in Antwerp, bringing a selection of their Japanese artists. An interesting selection that combines vintage and early photography (Shomei Tomatsu, Daido Moriyama, Issei Suda, Miyako Ishiuchi and a unique photo collage by Toshiko Okanoue) and contemporary photography represented by the works of Takashi Yasumura, Naoyuki Ogino and young talent Yoshinori Mizutani.
  • In the contiguous room the Londoner gallery Roman Road covers the wall of their booth in blue with big and small format cyanotypes. The controversial artist, collector and curator Thomas Mailaender uses this technique to show unusual and disconcerting human behaviour.
  • G/P gallery (Tokyo) is quite visible at the fair due to an artwork by Daisuke Yokota, where rolls of printed paper hang from the wall to the ground creating a sculptural photography. The artist has won the John Kobal Residency Award at Photo London and will exhibit soon at the Rencontres d’Arles 2015.
  • Not on the discovery section, but still dedicated to this topic, the Royal College of Arts displays the works of postgraduate artists in a fresh display of great talent by Sidsel Christensen, Philipp Dorl, Dominic Hawgood, Eugenia Ivanissevich, Mandukhai Kaylin, Agata Madejska, Joanna Piotrowska, Tom Pope and Tereza Zelenkova. Curated by Daniel C. Blight, the RCA selection is diverse, yet sharing an interest in questions of meaning, spectatorship and representation.

Daisuke Yokota, GP Gallery

When visiting Photo London, besides seeing some of the top international photography galleries, one has the opportunity to see brilliant exhibitions. The V&A displays a selection of rarely seen copies from their collection in Beneath the Surface. Sebastião Salgado exhibits his famous series Genesis in an especial platinum print edition and the brutal and sincere images belonging to the work Prostitute by Kaveh Golestan (1950-2003) are also bought to this fair edition.

Photo London also offers a great public programme open to a diverse range of audience. Talks and tours by leading photographers, art critics and collectors are organised along with DJ sets to celebrate photography in the city.

Photography spreads all over London with galleries and art centres organising events and exhibitions on the occasion of the first edition of Photo London. Among all the available activities Tate Modern hosts Offprint art book fair with a special presence of photography publishers, from Aperture and Mack to Morel Books and Self Publish Be Happy.

© Aina Pomar. Keiichi Tahara at Amana (Tokyo)

 

© Aina Pomar. Ben Brown Fine Arts (London)

© Darren Harvey-Regan, The Erratics (exposure #3)

© Aina Pomar. Camera Work (Berlin)

© Aina Pomar

Aina Pomar graduated in Sociology and Photography before completing a Master in New Media Art Curatorship. She has collaborated with Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró in Majorca and with CCCBLab and Fundació Foto Colectania in Barcelona. She moved to London to work at the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain, where she coordinated visual arts and exhibition projects with the aim of promoting Spanish culture and artists across the United Kingdom. She currently collaborates with various galleries and art projects in London.

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Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

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