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Four things to see at Photo London this week

London's biggest photography fair has returned

Eddy Frankel
Written by
Eddy Frankel
Art & Culture Editor
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© Martin Parr/MAGNUM PHOTOS
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You know summer’s about to kick off when Photo London shows up: every May, the massive photography fair takes up residence in Somerset House, bringing with it the best photography galleries in the world. It’s an incredible chance to see what’s keeping snappers happy these days, and to catch sight of some rare old masterpieces too. Fashion, documentary, street scene, portraiture, abstraction, collage - everything you can do with a camera, you’ll find it at Photo London, so here’s our pick of four things to look out for at the fair. 

Iranian photography

Defiant Revolutionary
Photo by Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)Photo by Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)

This year, there’s a special focus on galleries and photographers from Iran, including Tehran’s O Gallery, showing work from the Iranian revolution by Kaveh Kazemi and contemporary street scenes by Mohammedreza Mirzaei. Iran has been in the news constantly since the 1970s, and photography has been integral in telling the story of a nation often caught in turmoil.

AI

Sam Burford, copyright the artist, courtesy Fiumano Case
Sam Burford, copyright the artist, courtesy Fiumano Case

Recently, a photographer won the Sony World Photography Prize, and then revealed that he hadn’t taken the photo at all but had actually (gasp!) duped the judging panel into awarding the prize to a photograph created by an AI. Much controversy ensued, obviously, and the furore around AI photography just won’t die down, so you can expect a whole bunch of computer generated imagery at the fair, including a show of AI portraits by artist Sam Buford. 

Loads of fashion

Gian Paolo Barbieri Eva Herzigova Rome, 1997 Courtesy of the artist and 29 Arts in Progress Gallery
Gian Paolo Barbieri Eva Herzigova Rome, 1997 Courtesy of the artist and 29 Arts in Progress Gallery

Fashion and photography are like suits and ties, shoes and socks: inextricably linked. Every iteration of Photo London has been filled with fashion photography, and this year is no different. You can expect shots of supermodels by Peter Lindbergh, shoots in Brixton Armet Francis and loads of unseen colour photographs by the legendary Gian Paolo Barbieri. Tres chic.

Martin Parr

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© Martin Parr/MAGNUM PHOTOS

Every year, one photographer is chosen as a ‘Master of Photography’, and this time it’s the brilliant Martin Parr. He’s best known for his ability to capture British society with humour, satire, tenderness and deeply saturated colours, and has become one of the most important photographers of his generation in the process.

Photo London is at Somerset House May 11 to 14. More details here

Want more? Here are the best photography exhibitions in London.

And while you're at it, here are the top ten exhibitions in London.

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