We examine some of our favourite moments from London's inaugural edition of Photo London
This weekend, London's Somerset House was transformed into a giant photographic fair, with over 70 exhibitors descending on the capital for the inaugral edition of Photo London. With galleries from around the world bringing their finest examples of photography from William Eggleston to Nick Knight, Malick Sidibe to Nobuyaski Araki (who, in fact, seemed to appear in almost every room) alongside a brilliant programme of talks and screenings, the fair was an opportunity to celebrate some of the greatest names in the industry as well as discovering some new delights. Here, we look over some of the moments that particularly stood out...
Lewis Baltz' Sites of Technology at Galerie Thomas Zander
Commonly renowned for his monochrome photography, Lewis Baltz' Sites of Technology series is a rare glimpse into his world in colour. While his most celebrated work typically explores post-industrial landscapes and the crushing impotence and painful repercussions of the American Dream, here he took us inside – into research institutes and lab facilities – to explore the anonymous interiors and strip lighting of offices and laboratories across the world. Although unnervingly clinical, there is a disquieting beauty to the series, and a quietly witty commentary on the role of technology in a humane world.
Jo Ann Callis' Other Rooms at ROSEGALLERY
Jo Ann Callis' strangely sexual images manage to capture an elusive eroticism, her wonderfully saturated palette and suggestive-yet-awkward posturing a beautiful exploration of sexuality, femininity and domesticity. Originally shot in the early 70s, it was not until 2014 that Callis decided to exhibit them when she produced book Other Rooms and exhibited a full series at Santa Monica's ROSEGALLERY, and their presence at Photo London was delightfully disconcerting.
Michael Ormerod at Crane Kalman Gallery
In 1993, Jan Morris perfectly explained British photographer Michael Ormerod's vision of America as "a listless, mean and littered place. It is a place of trainers and bubble-gum, but no cheerleaders... The drive-in movies look anything but festive, the fast-food signs stand unenticing beside the empty highway. Even the Greyhound bus, generally seen as an engine of enterprise and enjoyment, looks dispirited here, as it labours all alone from one nowhere to another." It is this bleak perspective on the stagnancy of the country and its capitalism that permeates Ormerod's body of work, yet he consistently focuses on the mundane rather than turning to drama; it is the disenfranchised outsider's everyday life that gives his photographs such agnoising poignancy.
Thomaz Zanon-Larcher's The Lady From The Sea
Photographer Thomaz Zanon-Larcher, renowned for his collaborations with designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Alexander McQueen, screened two hauntingly brilliant short films during the festival. Inspired by Henry Ibsen's work of the same name, The Lady From The Sea was "shot in Svalbard in Barentsburg, Pyramiden, Isfjord Radio, Ny-Ålesund and Longyearbyen in the heart of an incomprehensible wilderness of inexpressible beauty" and documents the terrifying loneliness of humanity amidst an otherworldly beauty.
Stephen Shore on Instagram
At the close of the festival, Stephen Shore spent an evening at the Courtauld Institute explaining what the medium of Instagram means to his work. Exploring "the cultural baggage of the snapshot and the different kind of expectations you can place on a snapshot picture," he gave a run-down of the importance of "notational quality" in his past work, of the beauty that can be found in a simple observation rather than a detailed study. It is this, he summated, that offers such a world of possibility through the image-sharing platform; the opportunity to document and share the everyday without the pressure and prejudice that accompanies both subject and photographer when shooting on a large camera.
To coincide with Photo London was Off Print, an art publishing fair hosted at the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall. With publishers like Trolley Books (responsible for bringing Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin's phenomenal book Scarti to the world) and AMCBooks (who simultaneously opened their Bruce Gilden exhibition at Cob Gallery, celebrating his book launch), it was a veritable treasure trove of independent publishers and the pieces they create. In addition, Self Publish, Be Happy hosted a series of events where you could listen to the likes of Reba Maybury talking about Elegance Bratton's book or take a printmaking class with Ditto Press, for a weekend that was every print aficionado's dream come true.