As this year’s festival kicks off in the capital, we round up the most exciting exhibitors – from unconventional images by this year’s Master of Photography, Nick Knight, to humorous books by brothers Frank and Tyrone Lebon
Photo London returns this year for its seventh iteration at London’s Somerset House, with 106 exhibitors from all over the globe. This year, fashion photographer Nick Knight is being honoured as Master of Photography, with a special exhibition of his work – which includes a claustrophobic new sculpture made in collaboration with artist and couturier Michaela Stark that aims to challenge preconceived notions of female beauty. Elsewhere, seminal archival series like Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency are on display alongside the quirky, nudist work of Yushi Li at Hi-Noon, or the blue-tinted work of Ghanaian photographer Nana Yaw Oduro at French gallery Afikaris.
Below, we give you ten of the highlights to look out for at Photo London 2022.
2022 Master of Photography: Nick Knight
This year’s Master of Photography at Photo London is Nick Knight; the legendary British fashion photographer whose unconventional work has done much to shift outdated perceptions of beauty. Knight has a long, illustrious history of collaborating with artistic giants – Kanye West, Lady Gaga and Alexander McQueen among them – and this year’s show presents a selection of his work from the 1980s up to the present day. A new, visceral sculpture made in collaboration with his latest muse, the artist and couturier Michaela Stark, forms the centrepiece of the exhibition, and sees a group of women stacked up on top of each other, their bodies tied up tightly like Hans Bellmer dolls. “The women in this sculpture are representations of beauty and of desire and reflect a new feeling of inclusiveness and broadening of what the fashion world thinks of as ‘acceptable beauty’ that is becoming much more present in fashion,” says Knight.
For this edition of Photo London, Aperture presents a mixture of works from its archives ranging from the 1970s up to the present day. Offering a thoughtful look at love, sex, and human connection – as well as a few works which experiment with abstraction of the photographic medium – Aperture’s eclectic selection includes Nan Goldin’s seminal series The Ballad of Sexual Dependency; Jamel Shabazz’s heartfelt photos of 1980s New Yorkers; Donavon Smallwood’s languorous black and white portraits; and Justine Kurlands’ cult teenage runaway series, Girl Pictures. AnOther contributor Viviane Sassen’s unmistakable paint-splashed photography makes an appearance, too.
This year marks Magnum Photos’ 75th anniversary, and the photography cooperative is celebrating in style. Presenting a selection which sings of its global presence and rich history of thought-provoking documentary work, the edit on view at Photo London showcases iconic names alongside a new generation of photographers. Head over to immerse yourself in the photography of the four artists on view: Khalik Allah, Bruce Davidson, Yael Martinez and Cristina de Middel.
This year, artist-led platform Hi-Noon returns to Photo London for its second year with a selection of varied, surprising work by Bowei Yang, Melanie Issaka, Alix Marie and more. Chinese-born, London-based photographer Yushi Li steals the show, with her amusing nudist tableaus featuring swans and archaic weaponry (she has previously said that her work is about questioning gender roles).
This year, DoBeDo – the cult London-based independent publishing company, founded by brothers Frank and Tyrone Lebon in 2007 – makes its debut in Photo London’s publisher’s section. Books on display include the Lebons’ Inside the Bum, an amusing look behind the scenes of Harmony Korine’s stoner movie The Beach Bum, the poetic Still Life Big Data by Naima Karlsson, and 08.14-10.19 by British photographer Rosie Marks, which is described as “a way of searching for honesty”. Keep your eyes on the Lebon brothers – DoBeDo will be opening a permanent gallery space and shop in Camberwell next year.
St Leonards-on-Sea gallery Lucy Bell has a powerhouse of works on view for this edition of Photo London. Don’t miss photography by Ed Sykes, Carinthia West, and the late, great Peter Lindbergh, as well as images from Ken Russell’s series, Teddy Girls. The captivating series and 2021 book documents the rebellious teen girl gangs of 1950s London, who dressed in bold androgynous looks in a war-ravaged capital. Fashion historian Mairi Mackenzie told AnOther last year: “I’m going to quote Ken Russell here because he summed up what made the Teddy Girls so great, better than I ever could; ‘ … they were proud. They knew their worth. They just wore what they wore.‘”
Founded in 2018 by Florian Azzopardi, Parisian gallery Afikaris was created to showcase artists and image-makers from Africa and its global diaspora. This year, bold, vibrant works by Saïdou Dicko, Marc Posso, Nana Yaw Oduro and Asiko are on show, presenting a multitude of different perspectives on contemporary Africa. Look out for Yaw Oduro’s photograph Somebody tells me why everything happens; a beautiful interplay of light and shadow, with a young boy peeking out from underneath a fold of mesh.
Sprüth Magers – the storied German gallery run by Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers – represents cutting edge female artists like Cao Fei, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman. This year, it’s exhibiting just one artist at Photo London: Philip-Lorca diCorcia. With photos that “straddle truth and fiction”, the American photographer is showing images from his 1996 series Odessa, taken in the historic Ukrainian port city – peaceful images that take on new meaning in light of Russia’s 2022 invasion.
Like its name suggests, Open Doors gallery invites fledgling artists to be part of its roster through submissions and outreach in local communities, with the aim of spotlighting undiscovered talent across the globe. This year, two emerging artists are on view at its Photo London booth – Jennifer Latour and Max Miechowski – who both investigate themes of “nature, resilience and renewal” in their work.
Galerie Number 8
Operating online from Brussels, Galerie Number 8 is a young contemporary art gallery representing a globally diverse roster of emerging artists in both photography and mixed media. The gallery’s main focus is work which looks to “broaden common perceptions of identity, representation and the human condition.” At Photo London, the selection on view explores themes of queer love and selfhood, and features works by rising image-makers Bettina Pittaluga, Kader Diaby, Kvvadwo, and more.