Photo London 2017: Highlights

Now in its third edition, Photo London has established itself as a world-class photography fair and as a catalyst for London’s dynamic photography community. Aesthetica lists 10 exhibitions to see at the 2017 event, from specially curated exhibitions, conversations and awards to site-specific commissions.

1. Each edition bestows the headline award Photo London Master of Photography to one photographer who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of photography. The 2017 recipient is the American artist Taryn Simon, best known for her thought-provoking investigations of contemporary social issues and image culture. In addition to the award, Simon will be honoured with a special exhibition of her work and a talk, which will be a conversation with Artangel’s Co-Director James Lingwood.

2. Mat Collishaw is a well respected and established British artist, contributing to the fair with Thresholds, an exhibition that re-stages William Henry Fox Talbot’s pioneering 1839 exhibition of photography as a Virtual Reality experience. Using cutting-edge technology, visitors to this exhibition will even be able to hear the crowds outside the windows and feel the heat from the virtual fire in the room while viewing Fox Talbot’s prints.

3. In 1989, British filmmaker and artist Isaac Julien broke new ground with his seminal film Looking for Langston, exploring desire and the reciprocity of the gaze. Julien will be displaying still photographs and screening Looking for Langston, the wonderful project that brought him international acclaim.

4. The latest instalment of Photo London’s Pavilion Commissions will see the legendary photographer and filmmaker William Klein has created an 18-metre mural with some of his iconic fashion photographs. Klein helped establish and define the Op Art look of the 1960’s fashion world and this mural will be a real treat.

5. Another household name in fashion and fine art photography, Juergen Teller will be taking over Somerset House’s Great Arch Hall this year. As ever with Teller, it will be a surprising combination of ecstatic imagery that will surely make an impression on visitors.

6. Magnum Photos are celebrating their 70th anniversary this year, and to coincide with this two of their most celebrated members, David Hurn and Martin Parr, are co-curating a special exhibition titled David Hurn’s Swaps. The exhibition is made up of all the works Hurn has received by Magnum members over the past six decades, including many of his own.

7. In a twist to the usual gallery setting, dslcollection uses new technology to present some of their renowned collection of Chinese art in Virtual Reality. What makes this particularly special is that visitors will be able to experience installations, videos and photographs that due to their scale, would be impossible to present at the Fair in physical form.

8. The Photo London Talks Programme sees conversations by some of photography’s biggest names and brightest young stars including Juergen Teller, Paul Graham, Bruce Davidson, Newsha Tavakolian, Penelope Umbrico and Diana Matar. Additional speakers will include Dr Brian May of Queen, sculptor Antony Gormley and film director Ken Loach.

9. This year Photo London is focusing on new work and new artists to be seen at the Fair. The Discovery section is the part of the Fair designed to help galleries under five years old gain attention, and 2017 will see the Discovery section almost double in size to 17 exhibitors; for the first time it will be independently curated by British curator and art consultant Tristan Lund.

10. Building on last year’s strong showing of female artists at Photo London, there are galleries exhibiting work by pioneering feminist artists like Tina Keane, Natalia LL and Sue Barnes while others will be exclusively showing the work of female artists in their booths. Supporting this timely presence, 20 women will take part in the 32 programmed talks, including Loa Haagen Pictet, Curator of Collection Pictet and Chair Of IACCCA, Shoair Mavlian, curator at Tate Modern.

Photo London runs 18-21 May at Somerset House, London. For more information:

1. Isaac Julien, I Love my Friend from Looking for Langston. Courtesy of Photo London.
2. Magnum Photos, Harry Gruyaert, The Picnic (1998). Courtesy of Magnum Photos and Photo London.
3. William Klein, Backstage Polly Maggoo (1966). Courtesy of Photo London.
4. Paul Graham. Courtesy of Photo London.