London's art menu doesn't start and finish with paint on canvas – experience a whole new world of artistic awesomeness at our favourite photography exhibitions in London. From historical sweeps of beautiful images to daring and revealing shows of worldly wonders, London’s photography shows offer a full-exposure of art and thought. Read our full guide to photography in London for more photo news, features and reviews.
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Top photography exhibitions in London
When he’s not writing pop songs about wind-proof candles or knitting himself new wigs, Sir Elton John is a serious collector of modernist photography. No, honestly, he’s been buying the stuff for years, and his collection is world famous. This show features just a little slice out of his 8,000-strong hoard. Some images are grouped thematically, others hung in the same way they are in his office.
Mali got its independence from France in 1960, and immediately became in thrall to a different kind of colonialism: a cultural one of rock ’n’ roll, motorbikes and jeans. At a time when the West was fretting about whether photography was even an art form, Malick Sidibé was taking pictures of young people in Bamako which contain all the issues in that debate: authenticity, imitation, control of the image.
It’s a big one, this new exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery: 200-plus works by 48 artists from 20 countries. It’s also got a big name that some people will find pretty off-putting. In some ways that’s fine: more space for the rest of us to admire some incredible works of feminist art from the decade of ‘The Female Eunuch’, Spare Rib and defiantly abundant body hair. But it’s also perhaps a bit of a missed opportunity.
The prestigious nature photography exhibition returns this October. Now in its fifty-second year, the renowned and celebrated annual wildlife photography competition and exhibition returns to the Natural History Museum with images of the most extraordinary species on the planet, captured by professional and amateur photographers.
The first major photography show in the Engine Rooms at Tower Bridge will feature new work by the celebrated chronicler of British weirdness. What to expect? The exhibition's title is probably a giveaway.
Thirty-four years ago, photographer David Bailey released his book 'NW1': a series of images of Camden and Primrose Hill, where he had lived for decades. At that time, the area was in a state of crumbling disrepair – hard to imagine for those who know this swanky location now. To tie in with the book's re-printing, publishers HENI are holding an exhibitions of these poignant images form yesteryear.