This week sees the launch of London’s newest art fair, Photo London, a four-day event dedicated to photography in an age in which everyone seems to wield the power of a lens. Over 60 selected galleries from around the world have been chosen to exhibit at Somerset House, mingling commercial art with an extensive and varied exhibition programme. As such, the range of photography on offer is unlike any London, or the world, has ever seen.
Ranging from well-known names and faces to the unheard of and usually unseen debut photographers and their subjects, this refreshing and innovative move has re-established London as an international center for photography. It fills a key gap in the art market by nurturing upcoming photographic talent along with creating an international focal point for new artistic developments in photographic practice.
Photography exhibitions are by no means a new feature for Somerset House, the venue has hosted photographers from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Tim Walker. The recent exhibition of Guy Bourdin was one of the venue’s most successful exhibitions to date, a testimony to London’s growing appetite for photography. However this latest venture sees the largest ever takeover of the house for a single event, with practically every inch of the building presenting work for the public to see. In the director’s words “London has gone photography crazy”, with many partner organisations all over the city, including major London museums and auction houses, turning their attention to the camera.
The main exhibitions on display include the award winning Sebastião Salgado and his epic 32 journey project Genesis, along with the striking portraiture and photojournalism of Kaveh Golestan in Prostitute, while Beneath the Surface sees curators delve into the V&A photographic archives. As well as the various exhibitions and excellent installation work present in the famous courtyard from German photographer Rut Blees Luxemburg, the week sees a number of public talks, screenings and events supported by the LUMA foundation.
1. Sebastião Salgado, Iceberg between Paulet Island and the South Shetland Islands on the Weddell Sea. Antarctic Peninsula. 2005 ©Sebastião Salgado / Amazonas images / NB Pictures.