Photo London is open now, having returned to Somerset House in London's West End for the first time since 2020.
And having been established during the pandemic, the Photo London Digital fair will run in parallel with the physical event until 28 September.
An international fine art fair that features a roster of exhibitors from 14 countries, including a Discovery section for emerging galleries, Photo London is a four-day celebration of the photographic medium and this will be its sixth edition.
In addition to being able to browse artworks in the various gallery booths, the event also features a public programme; this includes a special exhibition and film screening by Photo London Master of Photography Shirin Neshat, the ‘Robert Capa, Close Enough’ touring exhibition, plus talks with Nancy Burson, Lee Friedlander, Lorenzo Vitturi, and more.
5 things to see at Photo London 2021
As there’s a lot to take in during a one-day visit, we toured the stands and booths on preview day to suggest some highlight packages to make your visit as rewarding as possible…
1. Established talent
Browse some signature work – some familiar, others less so – from an impressive roster of big-name photographers. Highlights include David Bailey (Intimate Modern, C16), Nick Knight (Albion Barn, G22), Rankin (29 Arts in Progress, G27), Albert Watson and David Yarrow (Camera Work Berlin, F4), and many more.
David Bowie fans will love the three images from the Aladdin Sane collection by Duffy in Galerie Prints (C2), which appears alongside work by Kevin Westenberg and some iconic images by the late Terry O’Neill.
Nick Brandt is premiering his latest body of work, The Day May Break, on the Atlas Gallery stand (Pavillion). This powerful new project portrays people and African wildlife together to highlight they way they have been affected by climate change and habitat destruction.
If music is your thing, then next to the Nikon Gallery you'll find Michael Grecco's ’Days of Punk’ (S1), a vital document of the nascent punk and post-punk scene.
In the adjacent room, Nikon is showcasing up-and-coming names in Photo London’s Emerging Photographer award; see work from the 2020 winner, Marguerite Bornhauser, and finalists Ibrahim Ahmed, Angela Blazanovic, Thandiwe Muriu and David Uzochuwku.
Next door, in the Nikon Lab (D24), the brand will be presenting a series of photo walks, masterclasses and studio sessions with Nikon ambassadors.
3. New and emerging talent
In addition to Photo London’s Emerging Photographer award, you’ll find a Graduates’ Salon (F13) dedicated to the work of 24 students nominated by nine of the UK’s leading colleges and universities.
The aim of this display is in part to showcase the work of these new and emerging talents who were denied physical graduation shows by the pandemic, and to give an audience to young creatives who found themselves producing work from their bedrooms on a computer.
As all of these works are on sale, with QR codes provided to call up the relevant information, you can do your bit to support up-and-coming photography talent.
While you’re on this level, go to the end of the corridor to catch the preview screening of the works shortlisted for ’Fire’, the Prix Pictet photography and sustainability award (F9).
4. See work from some of the masters of photography
Photo London is dedicated to photography through the ages, so it's a great opportunity to view work by some of the greats. Here is a flavor of what is on display:
- Man Ray and Bill Brandt (James Hyman, B5)
- Irving Penn and Helmut Newton (Grob Gallery, G12 and G13)
- Henri Cartier-Bresson, Josef Koudelka, Eliott Erwitt and Stuart Franklin (Augusta Edwards Fine Art, C15)
- Robert Fenton and William Henry Fox Talbot (Robert Hershkowitz, C6)
- Julia Margaret Cameron and Bill Brandt, plus Roger Mayne and Chris Killip (Stewart & Skeels with Bernard Quaritch, C7)
- Lee Miller and David E Scherman (Lee Miller Archive, B6)
You can also enjoy some early exploration and travel photography in the Roland Belgrave Vintage Photography booth (C14). Plus, book publisher Taschen (P1) is presenting a Sumo collector's edition of ‘Amazônia‘, Sebastião Salgado's most extensive project to date.
And don‘t miss the ‘Robert Capa, Close Enough’ touring exhibition (Embankment), which premieres at Photo London. Over 50 of the Hungarian-American photographer’s images are on display, spanning the period 1932-1954, plus his first Leica camera (a Leica II Mod. D from circa 1930).
5. Discovery galleries
Take the spiral staircase up from the Robert Capa exhibition to access the Discovery section. Billed as “the future of photography”, this is a selection of galleries less than five years old that are breaking new ground with the work they exhibit.
Highlights include Photon from Slovenia (D5), and a slew of galleries from south-east London that are challenging the capital's West End: Seager (D20); Shtager (G20); indigo+madder (D7); Sid Motion (D12) and Gas Gallery (D11), where you can view works from Digital Camera magazine contributor Jo Bradford.
Take the stairs next to Photon down to the Master of Photography Shirin Neshat exhibition. This award is presented every year to a living artist who has made an exceptional contribution to photography.
‘Land of Dreams‘ is a multidisciplinary project which comprises 111 photographs of residents of New Mexico in the US, and a two-channel film installation.
Neshat is an Iranian artist and describes this work as “fiction and documentary at the same time“; it explores the relationship between photography and dreams.
For her, “photography is about capturing a moment, where dreams vanish in a moment, what remains forever and what vanishes and the relationship between them."
Photo London 2021 is open now – buy tickets today!
Photo London is located at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA.
Opening hours are 9 September: 1-9pm; 10-11 September: 11am-7pm; 12 September: 11 am–6.30pm.
Day tickets cost £29, with student, disabled and youth tickets priced at £19. Guided tour tickets (not including a day ticket) cost £15. A day ticket and guided tour ticket bundle costs £42.
All tickets include access to the fair plus access to all special exhibitions and installations. Children under 13 and disabled companions go free.
The virtual Photo London Digital event will run from 9–28 September at photolondon.org