Photo London 2016

Photo London from the 19th -22nd May 2016 – held for the second year at Somerset house London. We had spotted the event  a couple of months ago and booked some tickets.  I wanted to see what it would had to offer. As a trip to visit Paris Photo was an option for a visit later in the year.

The guide stated: that they had brought together 80 of the world’s leading photographic galleries for this year’s fair. Galleries from around the world including countries like Ag Galerie | Tehran. Ayyam Gallery | Dubai – BeirutBILDHALLE | Kilchberg / ZurichCAMERA WORK | Berlinamana (amanasalto / IMA gallery) | Tokyo. So this was going to be an eclectic mix of images

Photo London also had a program of talks and symposia each day which were curated by William A. Ewing, writer and a distinguished curator. There were a number of talks I would have liked to have gone too listen too. These included: Nick Knight, Martin Parr, and Lois Greenfield. Unfortunately they were all sold out. Well before we had booked our tickets, so perhaps need to book earlier next year.

As the Photo London fair didn’t open until 12:30. We decided to use the morning and visited the Victoria and Albert Museum V&A. To view the photography exhibition that was getting 5 stars reviews in the various London guides.

Paul Strand: Photography and Film for the 20th Century

The advertising for the exhibition states the following:

Paul Strand was one of the greatest and most influential photographers of the 20th century. Whose images have defined the way fine art and documentary photography is understood and practiced today.

It was certainly well curated, and his early images were often taken from a high vantage point looking down into the city. His street images initially were often shot without the subject knowing that they were in the picture. But this changed in later years as he often discussed with the subject what he want to get from the image. He certainly travelled a lot and his actual cameras are on display. Which was good to see what he was working with. I would certainly agree with the 5 star reviews of this exhibition.

The court yard was also worth a visit as a canopy designed to mimic the microscopic structure of the forewing shells of flying beetles has been constructed by a robotic arm using a carbon and glass fibre spun by the arms program, the Elytra Filament Pavilion forms a waterproof shelter in the courtyard. This is part of the exhibitions and events focused on the “unsung role” of engineering in society.

A selection of images from the days visits

Photo London thoughts:

So this was an opportunity to see lots of different people’s work in one location and also see how the medium was being used by many different types of photographers. While you might not like the results it was good to see the range and depth of the different approach to image making in the different forms in each of the galleries.

I enjoyed visiting all the different galleries and it does take a long time to get around then all – you need lots of breaks too. Fortunately the layout of the event made it easy to get around and view the work without lots of other visitors being an issue. It was great to see images from the some of the great photographers of the past, the likes of Horst, Bob Carlos Clarke, and Norman Parkinson as well as images from today image makers like Andreas H. Bitesnich and Nick Brandt Each gallery has something different to view. For the Horst (Mainbocher Corset, 1939) image that I love you needed around 8500 euro to buy one of the prints. However it was amazing to get up close and see the details and shadow tones in the image which was taken in 1939 on a plate camera.

Photo London also had some specific artists with a room dedicated to their work these included Don McCullan (a range of his work, presented in association with Hamiltons Gallery.)  This exhibition included a wide range of his works. A dark moody room for his images worked well.

Craigie Horsfield’s work was also on display in a separate exhibition, which featured 12 of his large scale portrait images. Horsfield is known for his intimate style and sensitive employment of diverse printing techniques, and it was certainly worth visiting.

However for me the best exhibition was the work of Sergey Chilikov, the exhibition was entitled  Photoprovocations

The exhibition info stated the following:

Sergey Chilikov is one of the most outstanding practitioners of the ‘new’ photography which emerged in the USSR in the 1970s. This specially-commissioned exhibition, curated by the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, brings this important artist to the fore.

Closely linked to the Sots Art (Soviet Pop Art) movement, Chilikov’s work is a subversive response to the strict Brezhnev era of the USSR. Away from the oppression of public society and in the privacy of domestic situations, people were free to behave as they wished. Chilikov turned his lens upon his subjects in this liberated state. His work offers a glimpse into a fascinating past counter-culture that has striking resonance to our societies today.

It certainly did and was as I had said above was the best exhibition of Photo London. Overall and good day visiting both the V&A and also Photo London.