Top 10 photography exhibitions in London

Discover a world beyond Instagram at the city's best current and upcoming photography shows

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London's cultural menu doesn't start and finish with paint on canvas – experience a whole new world of artistic awesomeness at these blockbuster photography exhibitions, taking place at venues including The Photographers' Gallery and Getty Images Gallery.

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  • © Don McCullin

    Conflict, Time, Photography

    Conflict has an immeasurable impact on civilisations, landscapes, countries, cities, towns, loved ones and our memories. So a photographic exhibition about war might not strike you as an engagingly rewarding blockbuster show. But this enlightening and thoughtful survey is exactly that. Through images taken moments, days, weeks, months and years after the event, the effect and trauma of war is re-evaluated from the reflective viewpoint of artists and photojournalists without relying on explicit imagery.

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  • © Guy Bourdin

    Guy Bourdin: Image Maker

    Provocative, surreal and instantly recognisable: the work of Guy Bourdin marks a high point in twentieth century fashion photography, turning editorial and advertising imagery into something rich and strange. Guy Bourdin: Image Maker is the UK’s largest ever exhibition of his work, charting his 40 year career from protégé of Man Ray to photography revolutionary.

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  • Weston, Edward (1886-1958)

    Drawn by Light: The Royal Photographic Society Collection

    A biggish chunk of this show of works from the Royal Photographic Society’s collection is so astounding because it is the product of artists-turned-scientists, scientists-turned-artists, self-taught geniuses and pioneering visionaries who had more in common with brave/naïve Victorian explorers than with modern ideas of what a photographer might be, or do. It’s also the reason why quite a lot of the photos are blinking peculiar: strange, moving, other-worldly.

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  • © Karen Knorr

    Karen Knorr: BP Spotlight

    Two photo series by Karen Knorr depict posh west Londoners in domestic settings and portraits of members at a gentlemen's club.

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  • © Anja Niemi

    Anja Niemi: Darlene & Me

    The Norwegian photographer continues to explore the dual role of creator and subject in her latest series about split personalities. Taking on the guise of a fictional character ‘Darlene’, Niemi appears multiple times within one image to question the relationship we have with ourselves.

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  • © the artist

    By Set Square, Compass and Eye

    Economic growth and technological change impact the urban and rural landscape around us, leaving lasting impressions, some slight, others more overwhelming. Here, two photographic projects by Emma Charles and Alicja Dobrucka highlight how advancing industries affect our surroundings.

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  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year

    Among the awe-inspiring shortlisted entries for this year’s competition are pics of psychedelic auroras, spine-tingling meteor showers and the centre of the Heart Nebula. The last example is a star-clustered region of glowing gas in the Cassiopeia constellation – in case you didn’t already know.

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  • © Henrik Nilsson

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Celebrating its fiftieth year, the renowned competition exhibition returns to the Natural History Museum with images of the most extraordinary species on the planet captured by professional and amateur photographers. Attracting record number of visitors each year, the beguiling entries include stunning under water views of Australian sea lion pups playing to the unlikely vision of a texting monkey.

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  • © Art Kane

    Art Kane

    Photographs by the highly-influential photographer whose phenomenal practice encompassed fashion, editorial, celebrity portraiture, travel and nudes. From cramming over fifty world-class Jazz musicians onto the steps of a Harlem building to The Who snuggled under a union jack flag, Kane’s approach to portraiture was vivacious, fresh and utterly timeless.

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  • © Eva Stenram

    Eva Stenram: Positions

    Eva Stenram presents the UK premiere of her ongoing series Parts, as well as new photographs specially conceived for this exhibition.

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© Don McCullin

Conflict, Time, Photography

Conflict has an immeasurable impact on civilisations, landscapes, countries, cities, towns, loved ones and our memories. So a photographic exhibition about war might not strike you as an engagingly rewarding blockbuster show. But this enlightening and thoughtful survey is exactly that. Through images taken moments, days, weeks, months and years after the event, the effect and trauma of war is re-evaluated from the reflective viewpoint of artists and photojournalists without relying on explicit imagery.

MORE INFO

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12 comments
Viharsh K
Viharsh K

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helen
helen

World Press Photography Competition 2013, Royal Festival Hall , Southbank Two uncles carry their dead nephews in their arms, followed by an army of angry villagers, desperate for justice. A dead body of a suspected collaborator is dragged through the streets of Gaza City. The corpse of a Sudan Armed Forces soldier floats in an oily pond after a clash with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Looking at these harrowing photos it can be hard to believe that they are images of real life. And even harder to think there is someone one the other side of the camera, risking their life at times, taking the shot. The competition contains a combination of portraits, character studies, daily life, news and nature. But the majority seem to fall in the contemporary issues category, demonstrating conflicts of war, drugs, gangs and death. The exhibition comes with a warning for a reason. How the judges narrowed over 100,000 photos into this 55 exhibition amazes me, but it is clear why they are chosen. Though there are some strange additions, like the Danish photographer’s depiction of his family life on holiday in Italy, falling into the Daily Life category. His naked wife sits on the toilet yawning while a toddler rifles through the bin next to her. Another child is asleep in the next room. I’m not sure I’d be happy if I was her. The gallery has two separate sections which left it feeling slightly disjointed and would be easy to miss one whole part of the exhibition entirely. However, each photo is well annotated with just enough description of the event to draw the viewer into the scene without boring them. If you are of a nervous disposition, are already feeling depressed or emotional and have diminished faith in humanity- I would not visit. It is not an uplifting or ‘fun’ exhibition- but it will make you appreciate your own safe bubble of life. And make you want to buy a decent camera.

Giovanni Fanuele
Giovanni Fanuele

Bello e interessante! Anche la traduzione in Italiano è migliore della media. Bravi, complimenti. Saluti e auguri. From Brescia, Italy

Denn
Denn

This section seems like an afterthough - never seems to be comprhensive / updated enough.

Peter
Peter

There is fantastic exhibition of the ARENA GROUP of photographers at the Menier gallery, Southwark, Opened yesterday. Very moving & beautiful.

Jenny
Jenny

The Contemporary Art Society, based in Clerkenwell, is putting on a show by John Stezaker, Deutsche Borse 2012 winner, from 4 September. Not to be missed!

geoff
geoff

I only counted 9!