22 Love It
Save it

Top 10 photography exhibitions in London

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

'Strange and Familiar' at the Barbican. © Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

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. Or head to our Photography in London hub to find all the latest photography exhibitions and reviews.

Top photography exhibitions in London

1

Paul Strand: Photography and Film for the 20th Century

Critics' choice

Goodness: It’s a quality you probably appreciate in your mum. But in an artist? We’re taught from an early age to admire art’s bad boys and girls, from Caravaggio via Picasso to Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. They have the coolest lives and make the best copy. But the photographer Paul Strand (1890-1976) was, unerringly, a good man. And his images, of New York City streets, remote rural communities, even crocuses in his back yard, are inseparable from his humanity. 

Read more
V&A , Brompton Until Sunday July 3 2016
2

Fox Talbot: Dawn of the Photograph

Early photography can be hard to fathom, and not just because of all those people in top hats and capes trying and failing to keep still during ten-minute exposure times. The infancy of the medium in the 1830s is a confusing whirl of near-contemporaries, all messing about with lenses and chemicals in a bid to capture the fleeting world. A matter of national pride, who did what, and when, is debated even today. 

Read more
Science Museum , Brompton Until Sunday September 11 2016
3

Edward Barber

Edward Barber was a major chronicler of the anti-nuclear marches, demos and rallies of the 1980s. Over 30 years later, these pictures offer a glimpse into a turbulent decade of political protest. This display places a focus on the folk art that came out of the movement and the vital role of women in places like RAF Greenham Common.

Read more
Imperial War Museum , Kennington Until Sunday September 4 2016
4

Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

There’s a theme to this year’s Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, and that is that photography isn’t really able to deal with the contemporary world. A lot of what is in this show of the four shortlisted artists speaks about the unseen or the implied, what is beyond pictorial representation. 

Read more
Photographers' Gallery , Soho Until Sunday July 3 2016
5

Unseen City: Photos by Martin Parr

It’s a swell time to be a Martin Parr fan. A major show curated by the London-born photographer is about to open at Barbican (see page 96). You can also see his work as part of Tate’s ‘Performing for the Camera’, or even hike up to West Yorkshire, where the ‘king of the crowd’ has a retrospective at the Hepworth Wakefield. Just down the road from the Barbican, it’s possible to take in the fruits of his labour as the City of London’s photographer-in-residence, a post he’s held since 2013. 

Read more
Guildhall Art Gallery , Mansion House Until Sunday July 31 2016
6

Dorothy Bohm: Sixties London

Dorothy Bohm was handed a camera by her father shortly before she fled Nazi-occupied Lithuania in 1939. After settling in London, she began to take pictures of life on the city’s streets. This show features a selection of her iconic shots from the 1960s. See Dorothy Bohm's work in our 40 Best Photographs of London.

Read more
Jewish Museum , Camden Town Until Monday August 29 2016
See more photography in London

Next up: the best art shows in London

Top 10 art exhibitions in London

Fancy seeing an art show this weekend but no idea where to go? Well look no further. You can't go wrong if you head down to one of our ten favourite art exhibitions taking place in the capital right now.

Read more
By: Time Out London Art

Comments

14 comments
greta b
greta b

Also, no Kate Moss photos at the Photographers 2015 exhibitions.

Snapper C
Snapper C

@greta b Yeah I wondered where those photographs were too! Thought I'd somehow missed them.


greta b
greta b

The Photographer's Gallery is not in SoHo: it's a few meters off Oxford Street, at the end, near the Circus. Not SoHo.

Iain S
Iain S

@greta b Soho is bordered by Oxford Street and Regent Street. The Photographer's Gallery is well within those boundaries.

Andy S
Andy S

I look forward each year to the World Press Photography Competition award winners exhibition which is at the South Bank, Royal Festival Hall in November. This is one of the photographic highlights of the year for me. 

The press photos are haunting, tremendously powerful and remind us of the relative safety we live in. Some are just too sad to contemplate for long and you are forced to shift your gaze or turn away for a moment.

The western Press seem to be so unconnected however to these traumatic events. You feel their Photographers take some snaps and just walk away, which they do.

I think I only read of one instance where a press Photographer tried to do something about the situation and set about helping the family who had been caught up in the crossfire.  Presumably there are others, but these are the exceptions. 

It reminds me of western international clothing chains doing virtually nothing about the collapsing factories in Bangladesh, where their sub-contractors lost 1,100 people. The unsafe practices & ridiculous, laughable 'salaries' carry on and genetically identical people to you and me, my family in the UK/EU and the developing world, continue to die and work for little or no salary. 

What do you think, or feel ?! 

Jonny S
Jonny S

I recommend watching the documentary McCullin about a British photographer. This man also mentions the "snap & run" culture of many photographers, but spent his own life staying in areas of crisis for days and weeks, trying to tell the truth with his photography.

Andy S
Andy S

@Nikolay L Beautiful shots, I would like to see more people in your photos and controversy ! :-)

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.

Andy S
Andy S

@Paul Genesis was a truly amazing exhibition, but I was disappointed at the lack of comments or descriptive anecdotes next to the photos by Sebastiao Salgado. It wasn't as good as his exhibition at the Barbican !