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Ganges to the Golden State: what to look out for at this year’s Photo London
Art | 14 May 2019
Text Finn Blythe

Above image: Tim Walker, Floating Drive In, Florida, 2005. © Tim Walker, courtesy of the Artist and Michael Hoppen Gallery

This week Photo London revs up for its fifth annual programme. With over 100 of the world’s leading galleries in attendance, the fair spotlights the very best of the past, present and future of photography – as well as offering up an excellent line-up of public talks from expert names such as Tim Walker and Martin Parr.

As well as a typically outstanding roster of international talent, this year’s pavilion commission demonstrates Photo London’s continued commitment to supporting female photographers, with around half of the participating galleries also run by women. Taking the theme of Women in Photography, the pavilion will celebrate the work of Rachel Louise Brown, Mary McCartney and Susan Meiselas, whose work will be exhibited in the central courtyard of Somerset House.

Elsewhere, legendary American photographer Stephen Shore will be honoured with a special exhibition as Photo London Master of Photography, featuring new and unseen works. Shore will also participate in the Talks programme, alongside the likes of Martin Parr, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Gavin Turk, while this year’s Discovery section features a selection of 23 fast-developing international galleries from Riga to Mexico City and Rome.

Running from 15th – 19th May, we’ve picked out some of the highlights from this year’s line-up.

Ed Templeton in conversation with Matt Martin

Skater, photographer, artist and all-round top guy Ed Templeton has crossed the Atlantic to be at Photo London this year. In conversation with Matt Martin, London photographer and co-curator of the late Doomed gallery, Templeton will be talking through his process, digging into his extensive zine and photography archive, and also discussing his latest book Wires Crossed – a longitudinal study spotlighting the subculture of skateboarding.

Ed Templeton in conversation with Matt Martin will take place in the Lancaster Rooms, Somerset House, 3:30 pm – 4:20 pm Saturday 18 May 2019.

Two boys eating chicken in Disneyland, photography by Ed Templeton

Nick Brandt, Atlas Gallery 

This year will see Atlas Gallery launch its forth project with Nick Brandt. This Empty World is a chilling yet vitally important monograph that raises the alarm on damaging human encroachment upon the natural world. With cinematic staging and scale, Brandt places species facing extinction alongside human intruders, resulting in surreal and darkly prescient scenes that unite east Africa’s animals and people as joint victims of environmental degradation and rampant urban development.

Shot in Kenya, the series involved a level of logistics and prep that would rival a Hollywood blockbuster: each image is the result of a meticulously lit and constructed set, built by Brandt and his team before being photographed and disassembled. Once each set is partially built, Brandt waits for the animals indigenous to the region to wander into shot, after which, the set is built in its entirety, people are added, and a second photograph is taken to be overlaid with the first for a composite of the two intricately plotted elements.

Brandt will be in conversation with British writer, curator and teacher, David Campany, on Saturday 18th May, from 17:50 – 18:40.



Tim Walker, Michael Hoppen Gallery

A titanic force in British fashion photography, Tim Walker’s imagery is immediately recognisable for its carefully staged scenes and whimsical exploration of youthful fantasy. This September will see the V&A host Tim Walker: Wonderful Things, his third solo exhibition and a perfectly matched encounter between the V&A’s bountiful archive of exquisite objects and Walker’s inimitable lens.

At Photo London, Walker will present works taken over more than a decade, combining humour with beauty, memory with allegory, all while straddling the worlds of high fashion and contemporary art. Fuelled by childhood reverie, his photographs are at once fantastical, surrealist, uncompromising and always worth seeing.

Walker will also be in conversation with author and V&A curator Susanna Brown on Saturday 18th May from 13:00 – 13:50.


Giulio di Sturco, Podbielski Contemporary

Originally founded in Berlin by Pierre André Podbielski, Podbielski Contemporary relocated to Milan in March 2018 where it serves as a hub for academic research, talks, events and a contemporary art space. Representing a wide range of artists from the Balkans, the Middle East, Italy and Germany, the gallery’s programme addresses numerous geopolitical realities and transcultural debates.

Photo London is an opportunity to present the work of Italian photographer Giulio di Sturco, who spent eight years recording the demise of the River Ganges for his project Living Entity. Here he presents the ancient river in a state of tension. Caught between religious ritual (it embodies all sacred waters in Hindu mythology), a source of bodily sustenance for millions and the polluting effects of a rapidly industrialised country, its longevity hangs in the balance. Named after the fact that the Ganges is the first non-human entity in India to be granted the same legal rights as a person, the survival of this essential bearer of life is paramount to the country it sustains.



Eamonn Doyle, Michael Hoppen Gallery

Despite graduating with a diploma in photography, Dublin-born Eamon Doyle only started taking photos again once he was in his forties. Prior to that, Doyle was a prolific figure in Dublin’s electronic music scene, founding the hugely influential D1 Records and working as a leading music producer for over fifteen years. As a life-long Dubliner, it’s no surprise that his first three monographs were all shot in the city, no further than ten minutes walk from his front door.

Those three projects culminated with Made in Dublin, a street-level view of the city and its residents that spans five years and significant stylistic developments in Doyle’s photography. Taking his thematic premise from the work of Samuel Beckett, Doyle’s ethnographic approach captures the essence of a city undergoing radical change.

During the fair, Doyle will also be in conversation with fellow collaborators David Donohoe (artist and musician) and Niall Sweeney (graphic designer) on Saturday 18th May from 16:45 – 17:30.



Mark Ruwedel and Hannah Collins, Large Glass

London-based gallery Large Glass is always worth a visit and their participation at this year’s Photo London is equally enticing, with works from American photographer Mark Ruwedel and Britsh artist Hannah Collins. Based in LA, Ruwedel has been photographing the LA river and surrounding Californian hinterland since 2003, culminating in his book, Message from the Exterior. At Photo London he will present a series of abandoned houses, photographed in Wonder Valley, they transmit in Ruwedel’s words, “an atmosphere of unseen violence and tragedy, of failure of an undisclosed nature”.

Meanwhile, Hannah Collins will transport us to the arid planes of the Mojave desert, where her monochrome photographs explore the large-scale works of African sculptor Noah Purifoy. In the accompanying book of eighteen photographs, Collins employs the same conceptual formatting as Walker Evans’ seminal Message From the Interior, giving found objects an anthropomorphic quality and capturing a “naive creative spirit, imperishable and inherent in the ordinary man.”



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