The fourth edition of Photo London has officially begun, marking the annual descent of photography fans from far and wide upon the fair’s home in Somerset House. The 2018 edition comprises exhibits from over a hundred leading international galleries, offering the opportunity to glimpse the work of some of the medium’s most celebrated pioneers, as well as its most exciting up-and-coming practitioners. Here, we’ve picked out 14 of our favourite works on display for some afternoon eye candy.
Lorena Lohr, Untitled, El Paso, 2017
British-Canadian photographer Lorena Lohr began her ongoing series, Ocean Sands, in 2010, periodically venturing across the American Southwest by Greyhound and documenting her journeys on camera, in dreamy, faded hues. Her images are often devoid of people, centring more on the traces they leave behind them, as here — in a sumptuous diner shot on display at Cob Gallery’s stand.
Harley Weir, T-shirt
A typically tactile offering from British fashion photographer Harley Weir at Michael Hoppen Gallery. A red headed girl, with skin so pale as to almost be translucent, pushes softly at the back of her sodden white top, giving the “wet T-shirt” concept a distinctly poetic spin.
Guy Bourdin, Untitled, behind the scenes Charles Jourdan, Miami, 1978
Inimitable photographer Guy Bourdin gives us the ultimate schooling in Polaroid photography at the Louise Alexander Gallery stand. With effortless ease, Bourdin transforms a simple, “behind the scenes” snapshot from a fashion shoot into a masterclass in clever and brilliantly playful composition.
Tania Franco Klein, Contained (self-portrait), 2016
Don’t miss your chance to see the work of rising star Tania Franco Klein at Mexico City’s ALMANAQUE. The Mexican native takes joyfully surreal works boasting glorious colour palettes; think David Lynch meets William Eggleston – as in this hotel room-set self-portrait presented on an old-fashioned television screen.
Nadine Ijewere, Aweng — Dress, 2017
Another swiftly-ascending image-maker on display at this year’s fair is Nadine Ijewere. The London College of Fashion graduate — who is half Nigerian and half Jamaican — uses her medium to critique stereotypical portrayals of non-Western cultures in fashion photography, all the while championing diversity, in beautiful and arresting shots such as this.
Tom Bianchi, Untitled, 250, Fire Island Pines, 1975-1983
From the mid ‘70s until the mid ‘80s , American photographer Tom Bianchi paid regular visits to Fire Island Pines, a gay holiday haven on the small barrier island just south of Long Island. Here he captured numerous sensual and celebratory Polaroids of lithe men frolicking in the sun, safe from the gaze of a judgemental public at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in the United States. An historic time capsule and a blissful encapsulation of summer rolled into one. Head to Fahey/Klein Gallery to make it yours.
Juno Calypso, Subterranean Kitchen, 2017
Catch brand new work from Juno Calypso at TJ Boulting, taken from the British artist’s latest series, What To Do With a Million Years. This fresh body of work was shot in a luxury underground bunker built by Avon cosmetics founder Gerry Anderson during the Cold War. With its lavish ‘60s interiors in bubblegum pink, it’s perfectly suited to Calypso’s fantastical spin on concepts of femininity.
Sory Sanlé, Belle De Jour, 1975
If you’re not aware of the work of Burkina Faso photographer Sory Sanlé, now’s your chance to get acquainted. Opening his studio in the city of Bobo-Dioulasso in the 1960s — a golden era for the newly independent West African country — Sanlé captured thousands of captivating pictures of the city’s residents (and others who had travelled from further afield to have their first photograph taken). The resulting images are delightfully varied, depending on the sitters’ personalities; some are downright silly, others strikingly candid, as with this powerful portrait of a shy young girl.
Nan Goldin, Shape Shifting, 2010
This mysteriously compelling offering from Nan Goldin at SPROVIERI London comprises 16 frames, each depicting the same nude figure. In the first and last (more focussed) frames she stands as if in a shower, bathed in golden light. In the other hazier panels, she shifts herself into — and out of — a reclining pose reminiscent of Manet’s Olympia, calling into question the nature of her actions, and your own as an observer.
Prue Stent x Honey Long, Scallop, 2016
Simultaneously strong yet supple, “Born” exemplifies the fluid femininity that’s become eponymous with Melbourne artistic duo, Prue Stent and Honey Long. The collaborative partners fuse performance and photography to create distinct and surreal imagery, which eschews the tropes of female portrayal.
René Burri, Horse Pool and House by Luis Barragán, San Cristobal, Mexico, 1976
We need no excuse to revisit René Burri’s magical depiction of this Luis Barragán masterpiece — a residence and horse farm in the highlands of Mexico. Not only does it feature the most covetable equine swimming pool in existence, but Burri’s use of colour is good enough to eat. See it for yourself at Atlas Gallery’s stand.
Sheila Metzner, The Kiss, Fendi, 1986
This tender embrace between woman and classical sculpture was shot by American artist Shiela Metzner for a Fendi fragrance campaign in 1986. It has certainly stood the test of time, boasting an enduring elegance over 30 years on, and can be found at Staley-Wise Gallery, among a diverse offering of similarly pioneering fashion imagery.
Maisie Cousins, Tiger Morse, 2017
Also showing at TJ Boulting, alongside Juno Calypso, is the work of Maisie Cousins. The London-based image-maker’s visceral oeuvre subverts common notions of beauty to stirring effect — as evidenced by these wilting blooms, resolutely vibrant as time takes its toll on their once-pert petals.
Nobuyoshi Araki, Tokyo Comedy, 1995-1997
Last but not least is this eye-catching 1990s shot by Japanese king of kink, Nobuyoshi Araki. As in his most famous works, the central protagonist of Tokyo Comedy is a bound nude woman, albeit in a far less explicit pose than those usually favoured by the photographer. The attention-grab in this case, comes courtesy of the reptilian creatures snaking their way across her torso. Sneak a peek at Ibasho Gallery’s stand.
Photo London 2018 is at Somerset House until May 20, 2018.