Only founded last year, Photo London has already become the biggest Photographic fair in the UK and with 85 exhibitors from twenty countries, it is also undoubtedly one of the largest in the world.
Taking place over four days it occupies a maze of rooms – and a courtyard pavilion – within Somerset House, and whilst the central London location is wonderfully convenient, the venue is unfortunately rather busy, claustrophobic and far from ideal.
Nevertheless this is still an unmissable event for anyone with any interest in photography, and in an era where images dominate the media and when ‘everyone is a photographer now’, anyone pretty much does mean everyone.
Interest in photography is increasing like never before, whilst the spread of interest amongst the young is self-evident – with improving quality of mobile phone images and apps like Instagram.
This surge of youth has not necessarily reached the realms of the art galleries at Photo London however. Modernist photography was somewhat over-represented and whilst it was nice to see classic images from the likes of Andre Kertesz and Edward Steichen, there were rather to many Edward Weston style nude derrieres. Furthermore the trend for documentary and celebrity photography to be treated as art was also rather too evident for our liking.
Perhaps this reflects where much of the money lies in the market, but surely the trend will swing sharply towards contemporary, and more art-oriented photography as buyers become ever more mature, knowledgeable and adventurous.
Here is just a very small selection of what caught our eye this year, starting with a William Eggleston Memphis series photograph (top), some great Alex Webb images (above and below) from the Leica stand, and a Don McCullin from an Photo London special exhibition.
Anything else? A Vik Muniz ‘Seurat’ jigsaw, a great early conceptual piece from John Baldessari, some Alex Soth Gathered leaves works at Weinstein Gallery, George Osodi Nigerian Monarchs at Z Photographic, an exhibition of Sergei Chilikov soviet ‘New Photography’ in the Embankment galleries, a wall of some impressive large format abstract photographs from Nagoya Hatakeyama at Taka Ishii, some Fabien Miller camera-less photos, a wall of Andre Kertesz and… well, so much more.
There are lots of photo books too including a display of winners from the Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards, a series of lectures and, for when it all gets too much, the Martin Parr cafe is the place to relax with some old British favourites.
Finally, since ‘everyone is a photographer now’, we of course feel obliged to add our own iPhone snap to the ever growing world of images! Hope you like it.
Photo London 2016 is at Somerset House 19 -22 May 2016.
For more information visit Photo London
Images by CELLOPHANELAND*