Top 10 photography exhibitions in London

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

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.

1

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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Tate Modern Until Tuesday April 14 2015
2

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. Over 100 colour exhibition prints, as well as early and late works in black and white, will be on display, along with Polaroid test shots, contact sheets and transparencies.

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Somerset House Until Sunday March 15 2015
3

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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Science Museum Until Sunday March 1 2015
4

Karen Knorr: BP Spotlight

The politics of representation was a hot topic in the 1970s and ’80s. Culture wars were in full swing and identity (gender, race, class, you name it) was up for grabs. Photographer Karen Knorr must have thought just that when she set out to capture, in situ, London’s upper classes at the height of the Thatcher era. The result is two photo series: ‘Belgravia’ (1979-81), domestic scenes depicting posh west Londoners, and ‘Gentlemen’ (1981-83), portraits of cocksure members gliding through gentlemen’s clubs.

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Tate Britain Until Sunday March 29 2015
5

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 Little Black Gallery Tuesday February 3 2015 - Tuesday March 10 2015 Free
6

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 highlight how advancing industries affect our surroundings. Emma Charles documents how the Allegheny Mountain region in Pennsylvannia was drilled to accommodate fibre-optic cables providing America’s leading trading capitals with supersonic high-speed connections. Alicja Dobrucka captures the rising skyline of Mumbai, a city of great divides, where aspirational living, looks out over the slums.

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South Kiosk Wednesday February 4 2015 - Saturday February 14 2015 Free
7

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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Natural History Museum Until Sunday August 30 2015
8

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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Siobhan Davies Studios Until Tuesday March 22 2016

Comments

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!