Prestigious London hotel launches photo exhibition… but where are the women?

The Atlas x The Hari exhibition
The Dali's, 1939 (Image credit: George Hoyningen-Huene / The Atlas collection)

An award-winning luxury hotel in London, England, The Hari in Belgravia, has announced a partnership with a London photography gallery, Atlas. Along with A Space For Art, it will curate a new exhibition from the Atlas collection that offers a dedicated focus on photography from the 20th Century including fashion and journalism.

The exhibition will be running at The Hari until  September 2023, and photographers showcased in the exhibition include George Hoyningen-Huene, Nick Brandt, Chris Simpson, Bastiaan Woodt, and Niko Luomo. The images are also available to purchase as prints for as high as £39,000 (approximately $46,800 / AU$69,600). 

• These are 10 of the best photography locations in London

This new collaborative exhibition at The Hari will surely bring in a host of rich spectators, and the Atlas Gallery is renowned for showcasing the absolute best of photography with an impressive roster and diverse range of contemporary image makers and 20th Century masters of photography, representing the most famous and highly regarded photographers over the last hundred years. 

Tilly Losch, 1933 (Image credit: George Hoyningen-Huene / The Atlas collection)

Hosting approximately six exhibitions per year, the Atlas Gallery was founded in 1994 and has since become a major staple of the photography industry worldwide. This exhibition will include a rare and comprehensive look at work by the late fashion photography connoisseur, George Hoyningen-Huene, as well as fascinating work by British photographer Nick Brandt.

Also involved in the exhibition is A Space for Art, which excels at finding exceptional spaces as well as curating rotational and permanent exhibitions in prominent locations worldwide. The company has been curating spaces at The Hari since its opening in 2016, making it a leading player in the hotel art scene. 

Lioness against rock (Image credit: Nick Brandt / The Atlas collection)

The Hari says that it is committed to supporting the new generation of artists, and offering equal opportunities for all, so we have to ask: where are the women?

As we approach International Women's Day on March 08, it's really disappointing that this new highly luxurious exhibition will feature the work of not a single female photographer. Granted, a lot of the images on display by these photographers (especially Hoyningen-Huene) do feature women as the prime subject, but surely this only perpetuates the outdated idea that women belong in front of the lens and not behind a camera. 

(Image credit: The George Hoyningen-Huene Estate Archives / The Atlas collection)

This is especially absurd considering that this new exhibition is said to have a focus on 20th Century photography, of which there are countless examples of female pioneers such as Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman, Imogen Cunningham, Nan Goldin, and even Annie Leibovitz, one of the world's most famous photographers. 

The Atlas Gallery itself represents and showcases the work of some amazing female photographers – including the aforementioned Cunningham and Goldin, as well as Dominique Tarle, Julia Bostock, Florence Henri, Leni Riefenstahl, Margaret Bourke-White, and Lillian Bassman.

Rabia II (Image credit: Bastiaan Woodt / The Atlas collection)

So this makes it even more of a mystery as to why work by these female photographers (or at least one female photographer) has not been included in the exhibition, with a presumably extensive collection of work already at the gallery's disposal. 

Some might argue that the gender of represented photographers shouldn't matter, and their work should speak for itself. And while this is true, it's still crucial for younger female and non-male photographers to have other inspirations to draw from, with a level playing field of work showcased from all photographers – and this includes a lack of representation for photographers of color, too. 

Zebras Turning Heads (Image credit: Nick Brandt / The Atlas collection)

If you're not super keen on visiting an ultra fancy and posh London hotel to see The Hari x Atlas exhibition, or spending thousands on purchasing prints, then consider paying a visit to the upcoming Living The Dream exhibition at Fujifilm's House of Photography instead and put your support where it matters. 

Self-Titled Adaptation of 14 sunflowers (Image credit: Niko Luomo / The Atlas collection)

Princess Natasha Paley, 1933 (Image credit: George Hoyningen-Huene / The Atlas collection)

You may also be interested in the best professional cameras, as well as the best camera for beginners, and take a look at the Top women in photography according to Hundred Heroines, and these 22 historical female photographers you need to know about.

Find yourself in London with nothing to do? Check out the Leica Gallery London, or the free giant outdoor Photography Quarter, as well as the new Centre for British Photography, there's also an awesome giant Infinity cove at Sugar Studios.

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.