Photo London at Somerset House

With other 500 artists showing from 111 galleries, this fourth edition of Photo London is more momentous than ever. Indulging in epic chromogenic masterpieces, gem-like polaroids and assorted Photographs on a Postcard, we traversed the elegant wings and terraces of Somerset House to bring you our pick of the photographic crop…

‘The agency of light alone’

Cornelia Parker photogravure etching inSun Pictures Then and Now: Talbot and his Legacy Today, part of the Photo London Public Programme. Credit: Louise Long

Ease into this oft complex technical world with Sun Pictures Then and Now: Talbot and his Legacy Today – an insight into the early invention of the medium by William Henry Fox Talbot. Alongside contemporary responses – notably Cornelia Parker’s ethereal photogravures of glassware, and Adam Fuss’s psychedelic floral photograms. Transcribing elements from the natural world with further camera-less techniques – Michael Flomen at Duran Mashaal Gallery. Presenting pleasingly crumpled photograms and colour-saturated abstract chromogenic prints.

The sculptural act

Es Devlin MASK, part of the Photo London Public Programme. Credit: Louise Long

Hailing from operatic theatre to Beyoncé’s world tours, Es Devlin’s set-design-spectacle has been channelled into MASK– a mesmerising projection-mapped installation, overlaying the touch of human hands onto the urban fabric. Meanwhile, examining the earth from the other end of the telescope is Edward Burtynsky, the 2018 Photo London Master of Photography whose self-proclaimed focus is on the ‘sculptural’ translation of the field. Luxuriate in the sublime technicality of his aerial views, from latest project Anthropocene. For other three-dimensional triumphs, see Tom Lovelace at Flowers Gallery and Filip Berendt Monomyth series – combining black and white photography with geometric blocks of colour (L’Etrangère).

“We are all making Stuff”…

Arash Fewzee showing with Rubber Factory, a contemporary art gallery on New York’s Lower East Side, focusing on conceptual photography. Credit: Louise Long

In the words of Es Devlin; whether we like it or not. But expanding the vernacular of photography are Arash Fewzee’s largescale colour-drenched prints (Rubber Factory Gallery) – doorways into a complex, tactile world. Whilst Claudia Huidobro’s sensual collages, composed from strips of magazine imagery are a ‘ballad of femininity’ (Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire). We also delighted in Amanda Charchain’s handpainted series, along with Jo Dennis’ joyous multi-layered installation blurring the boundaries between painting and photography.

Seduced by landscape

Darren Almond Full Moon @ Baltic Coastline, in the Studio Room Gallery. Credit: Louise Long

Vast, meditative and unwaveringly beautiful: Darren Almond’s Fullmoonsolo exhibition from White Cube. Then to the visceral charge of the urban landscape – with Daido Moriyama’s Pavilion Commission, returning us to the enigmatic streets of Tokyo. And evoking the heady days of summer: Walter & Zoniel’s stained gelatine prints (Cob Gallery) – lyrical pastorals through which to escape the city.

Walter & Zoniel Call of the Idyll, showing with Cob Gallery. Credit: Louise Long

Nature Morte

Antonio Biasiucci, Pani e Crani, showing with Galleria del Cembalo from Rome. Credit: Louise Long

For a steely reminder of one’s mortality, make a bee line for Antonio Biasiucci’s striking black and white cranial still lives at Galleria del Cembalo. Or Marco Maria Zanin’s subtle compositions of objects from his grandfather’s rural life; some of the most exquisitely poetic images at the fair. From East Wing Gallery, Caleb Charland’s Back to Lightseries optimistically exploiting the still life as energy source. 

What to do with a million years

Senta Simond Rayon Vert, at Webber Gallery, part of the Discovery section of the fair. Credit: Louise Long

Or for those more short of time, TJ Boulting serves up an intense sherbet-y treat in the form of Juno Calypso’s surreal underground bunker self-portraits, alongside Maisie Cousins. ‘Grass, peonie, bum,’ a hedonistic sensory experience. Senta Simond at Webber offers an equally striking series of gestures, exploring a meteorological phenomenon through arresting portraits of friends. For an intense hit of glamour, see Erik Madigan Heck’s rapturous showcase at Christophe Guye or William Klein in 1950’s NYC (Howard Greenberg).

Jam is to Toast as..

…photography is to book-making. Take time to revel in the printed and bound on display at the fair, with favourites including Crystal Lebas Field Studiesor Stephen Gill Night Procession, both shortlisted for the Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards, as well as Are They Rocks or Cloudsby Marina Caneve, on the Book Dummy Awards shortlist. For collectors, exciting book signings abound – Joel Meyerowitz, Irene Kung, and Bruce Gilden to name a few.

Photographs on a Postcard display, fundraising for The Hepatitis C Trust. Credit: Louise Long

Finally, look out for hot-seats in the talks programme – we’re excited to hear what might be in-store next year at ‘Beyond Photography’, with conservation chaired by the brilliant Lucy Soutter.

Words and Pictures by Louise Long


Photo London
17 - 20 May 2018
Somerset House Strand, WC2R 1LA
— A Little Bird
17th May 2018