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London's photography fair returns to Somerset House for its second year
The main fair
Photography is big business, and nothing makes that clearer than Photo London, the UK’s biggest photography fair. Collectors travel from all over the world for its glitz and photographic shenanigans. But it’s not just for the moneyed elite: Photo London is heaven for cash-strapped plebs like us too. The fair brings together over 100 of the best galleries and publishers in the world, all hanging some of the best photography around the hallways of Somerset House. That means you get to see Sprüth Magers showing Stephen Shore’s intimate photos of Andy Warhol, Alison Jacques whacking up a bunch of ultra-erotic Robert Mapplethorpe images and Hamiltons Gallery displaying some incredible shots by iconic photojournalist Don McCullin.
The public programme
It’s not all hoity-toity bollocks that you can’t afford, there are properly curated exhibitions and a public programme too. The star attraction is former YBA Mat Collishaw’s ‘Thresholds’, a virtual reality recreation of a pioneering 1839 photography show by Fox Talbot. That will be running until June 11, with tickets available through the Somerset House website. Other artists in the public program include Taryn Simon, Juergen Teller and Isaac Julien, all three of whom are participating in various talks, as are big names like Ken Loach and Queen’s Brian May, who will be talking about stereoscopy. We’ve just looked it up, and it’s not a method of taking pictures of your bowels, apparently. Good news.
The satellite events
Away from the main fair, London is bursting into all sorts of photographic life. There are auctions at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips, if you’re in the mood to splash the cash. Then there’s vintage photography galore at the London Photograph Fair Special Edition next door at King’s College on May 20 and 21. Cheaper stuff can be found at Dover Street Market, where they’ve collaborated with the National Portrait Gallery on a bunch of photography-inspired tea towels, coasters and fridge magnets. There are some great new shows on too, including Isaac Julien opening at Victoria Miro, Libya: A Human Marketplace at the Saatchi Gallery and Camera Press at 70 at Art Bermondsey Project Space. Walking around London this week is going to feel like scrolling through the best Instagram feed ever, but in real life.
Find EVEN MORE brilliant photography shows by clicking right here.