The seventh edition of Photo London has opened this week at Somerset House and features 106 galleries from 18 countries. The UK’s largest photography fair presents the best historic and vintage works while also offering fresh perspectives in photography. Along with a selection of the international photography dealers and galleries, Photo London’s Discovery section is dedicated to emerging galleries and artists. Here are just eight of the many highlights in this major international photography extravaganza, on until 15 May.
1.Philip-Lorca di Corcia, Ukraine Red Cross fundraiser at Sprüth Magers/David Zwirner
In 1996, American photographer Philip-Lorca di Corcia shot hundreds of frames in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. With the exception of a single picture, the photographs were never published and disappeared in the artist’s archive. Reminded of his trip when seeing the city reappear on coverage of the present war, di Corcia revisited his archives and selected a series of these previously unseen photographs of the life and people of the historic port of Odessa and its surroundings. A run of unlimited edition prints of these photographs are available for $250.00 each, with all proceeds donated to the Red Cross to aid the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
2.Shubha Taparia at Prahlad Bubbar, Booth W11
Shubha Taparia’s intriguing photographic collages highlight the changing cityscape and the choices that are made in the preservation and renovation of mostly historic buildings. Her application of pure gold leaf on the photos of stripped down facades reminds us of the value of the buildings and their former occupants. By patching loss with gold, a substance that is a symbol for transformation in various cultures across times and geographies, the artist highlights the nature of change.
3.Alia Ali at Galerie Peter Sillem, Booth E7
Alia Ali, a Yemeni-Bosnian-US artist, has travelled to 67 countries, lived in and between seven, and grown up among five languages. This London presentation showcases new photographic works taken in Yemen that see the artist camouflage her sitters in elaborate, beautiful patterned fabrics. The richly-colored patterns are instantly appealing but they aren’t simply pretty pictures. The enigmatic images conceal her subjects’ faces in traditional (and often controversial) textiles to challenge culturally sanctioned oppression, and confronts the notions of gender, politics, media, and citizenship.
4.Hannah Hughes at Robert Morat Galerie
Hannah Hughes’ Mirror Image series includes unique works of abstract two-dimensional shapes made of discarded household materials. Paper from glossy magazines, pulp packaging and clay are used to create collages where one form intersects the surface of another creating a visible border within each photograph.
5.Andrej Lamut at Galerija Fotografija, booth E13
Slovenian artist Andrej Lamut was nominated for the art fair’s emerging photographer award this year. At PhotoLondon he shows his Invasive Alien Species series, where images are cleverly printed on handmade Japanese knotweed paper, itself an invasive foreign species known for destroying native ecosystems.
6.Thandiwe Muriu at 193 Gallery
In her Camo series, Thandiwe showcases Africa’s unique blend of cultures, textiles and beauty standards. In her work, she celebrates her African heritage and addresses important issues such as identity and self-perception using the rich, vibrant colors the continent is so known for. Drawing inspiration from African textiles, everyday objects and traditional hairstyles, Thandiwe explores how the individual can lose their identity to culture.
7.Marc Posso at Afikaris Gallery, Discovery section
Past and present merge in Gabonese photographer Marc Posso’s images that are a lovely homage to the work of Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta. His work heralds the revival of traditional studio photography, carefully anchoring them in the contemporary era. Sometimes working with an analog camera, sometimes with a digital one, his black and white images do have a certain air of nostalgia.
8.Jean-François Jaussaud at Podgorny Robinson Gallery
Rare photos of Louise Bourgeois in her studio in New York are a real treat. French photographer Jean-François Jaussaud met Louise Bourgeois in New York in 1994 and came back to see her several times until 2006. These meetings resulted in an intimate series of photographs taken between Louise Bourgeois’ apartment in Chelsea and her studio in Brooklyn. Very rarely shown to the public, these images include portraits, studio views of her iconic works, and her living spaces. Each photo is a piece of a puzzle trying to reveal the contours of an elusive artist.