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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  • Courtesy of Condé Nast Archive, Condé Nast. Publications, Inc, New York/ Paul Hawryluk, Dawn. Lucas and Rachael Smalley

    Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, The Conde Nast Years 1923-1937

    Once the highest paid photographer in the world, Steichen became chief photographer at Condé Nast in 1923 and it’s his years shooting for Vogue and Vanity Fair that this exhibition focuses on. Over 200 prints including portraits of Greta Garbo, Winston Churchill, Marlene Dietrich and Frank Lloyd Wright explore Steichen’s skill at capturing the glamour and social climate of the roaring twenties and 1930s.

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  • Luigi Ghirri

    Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age

    ‘The long exposure time required by the first cameras favoured the static attributes of buildings, making them a far more reliable subject than the human figure,’ reads the dry introductory text to this extensive and actually quite moving show of photography from the past 80 years. The statement is true, up to a point. Barring disaster, buildings don’t tend to move. But the effects of light, weather and most noticeably, human activity, make architecture anything but a static subject. 

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  • Courtesy of Osborne Samuel and Beetles+Huxley

    The Photographers 2014

    Osborne Samuel and Beetles+Huxley collaborate on this extensive survey of photography from the nineteenth-century to the present day. Featuring works by major names including Brassai, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Cecil Beaton, Walker Evans, Man Ray and Dorothea Lange, over 150 iconic photographs celebrate the variety and importance of the photographic medium.

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  • © Mark Neville

    Mark Neville

    Thirteen works that reflect upon the differences of London’s subcultures and Pittsburgh’s industrial communities. 

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  • © Margaret Bourke-White, Courtesy Daniel Blau Gallery

    Margaret Bourke-White

    The first female photographer to accompany the U.S armed forces in the Second World War, Bourke-White produced some of the most arresting iconic images of the twentieth century. Starting out working in architectural and commercial photography, Bourke-White would go onto become staff photographer for publications like Fortune and Life. Here, her war images are shown alongside lesser-known photographs of burlesque dancers.

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  • © the artist

    Leila Jeffreys: Wild Cockatoos

    Jeffreys captures the unique and individual character of every Australian wild Cockatoo species in her latest series of photographic portraits 'Biloela'. Working closely with conservation and rescue groups, Jeffreys continues her search to document the beauty of birds often overlooked such as the Budgerigar and Finches.

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  • © Chris Stein

    Chris Stein: Me, Blondie and the Advent of Punk

    To mark Blondie's 40th anniversary, Somerset House present this mega show of previously unpublished photographs by Chris Stein, co-founder of the band. 

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  • © Edwin Smith/RIBA Photograph Library

    Ordinary Beauty: The Photography Of Edwin Smith

    This exhibition of works by the prominent British photographer showcases over 100 black-and-white dramatic images of British architecture and European landscapes taken during the 1950s and 1960s.

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  • © Condé Nast / Horst Estate

    Horst: Photographer of Style

    A retrospective exhibtion of Horst P Horst's prolific 60-year career. The German-American photographer did shoots for couturiers such as Chanel, Schiaparelli and Vionnet in the ’30s, as well as experimenting with early colour techniques. His most renowned images will be on display alongside rarities and unpublished pictures, plus there will be a recreation of Horst's 1940s studio. 

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  • © Nick Headges

    Nick Hedges

    This exhibition displays 100 photographs from the archive of British photographer Nick Hedges, commissioned by Shelter during the 60s and 70s. The stark images depict the poverty and poor standards of living faced by people in Britain, and are shown together for the first time following a 40-year restriction to protect the privacy of Hedges' subjects. The exhibition is displayed in the Virgin Media Studio.

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Courtesy of Condé Nast Archive, Condé Nast. Publications, Inc, New York/ Paul Hawryluk, Dawn. Lucas and Rachael Smalley

Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, The Conde Nast Years 1923-1937

Once the highest paid photographer in the world, Steichen became chief photographer at Condé Nast in 1923 and it’s his years shooting for Vogue and Vanity Fair that this exhibition focuses on. Over 200 prints including portraits of Greta Garbo, Winston Churchill, Marlene Dietrich and Frank Lloyd Wright explore Steichen’s skill at capturing the glamour and social climate of the roaring twenties and 1930s.

MORE INFO

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Users say

11 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!