Photo London 2024: Iconic Images and New Perspectives on Display

Sian Davey, From 'The Garden' (2021-2023). Source: Photo London

Photo London’s 9th edition at Somerset House features 400 photographers from over 30 countries, showcasing big names like Steven Meisel, Martin Parr, and Lee Miller alongside emerging talents. Spanning personal to political, documentary to fashion, music, and travel, the fair highlights photography’s past, present, and future.

Photo London keeps its familiar lineup, featuring Mick Jagger snapshots across various booths, though Kate Moss sightings are scarce this year. Amidst the predictable glamour shots, there is a treasure trove of genuinely profound, unique work.

Charlotte Jansen, author and editor of “Girl on Girl: Art and Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze” (2017), curated the Discovery section. She highlights a groundbreaking shift: nearly all gallerists and exhibitors are women, a first in the commercial realm. The section also champions diversity, showcasing subjects and artists often overlooked by mainstream art fairs.

Among the numerous compelling solo showcases of female photographers, notable examples include Helen Levitt’s captivating New York street life portraits at Cologne’s Zander Galerie and Yıldız Moran’s mesmerizing monochromatic landscapes, interiors, and still lifes.

As a female photographer, Yıldız Moran undoubtedly accessed environments, moments, and perspectives that were unreachable to others at the time, capturing the serenity of the people and the contemporary life of Anatolian people with great respect, which was a unique achievement, unmatched before or after her time. Through her photography, she conveyed a universal language in a lyrical manner from her own perspective, becoming a school of her own with her photographs often described as “Timeless.”

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation highlights artists addressing pressing issues. Marvel Harris’s ‘Inner Journey’ documents gender transition, Anastasia Samoylova captures Miami’s climate change nuances, and Philip Montgomery delves into American societal conflicts.

While sales might not have reached pre-pandemic levels, there was a noticeable excitement, with significant transactions reported. Peter Fetterman Gallery, for instance, sold several works by Sarah Moon, Jeffrey Conley, and Michael Kenna, showcasing pieces with a tangible presence and crafted by hand.

Echo Fine Arts, represented by Ève d’Oréfice, targeted seasoned photography collectors, emphasizing quality over mere decoration. They successfully sold a set of 12 platinum prints by Jan C. Schlegel for £49,000 and were in the process of selling another set for £55,000. Guerin Projects also saw significant interest, with red dots indicating sales under James D. Kelly’s photographs, priced at up to £9,500 per print.


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