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The images you’ll love at this year’s Photo London
By Ella Joyce | Art | 10 May 2023

Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England, 2016 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos / Rocket Gallery

It’s that time of year again, Photo London is back for its eighth edition at Somerset House and it’s set to be the biggest yet. Bringing together over 110 exhibitors from 55 cities worldwide, the showcase displays imagery focusing on themes ranging from the socio-political to the cinematic, the constructed to the hyper-real.

Exhibiting the very best from the past, present and future of photography, internationalism is at the heart of this year’s fair as the power of imagery on a global scale is placed under the spotlight. First time contributions arrive from Iran, China, Japan, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Norway and Finland alongside Photo London regulars such as London’s Cob Gallery and New York’s Magnum Photos. In addition to the photography on show, a programme of artist talks from the likes of Claire Hyman, Nick Waplington and Simon Baker are on the agenda as well as a series of workshops hosted by Nikon.

Below, we’ve curated a list of our top picks from this year’s fair – there’s plenty to pick from!

Martin Parr: Master of Photography

Aptly arriving at a time when the notion of Britishness is at an all-time weird after King Charles’ Coronation, this year’s Master of Photography is legendary British photographer Martin Parr. Known for his work documenting pockets of British society, its whims, quirks and locals, his anthropological lens has captured the mundane serenity in everyday life for the past five decades. 

For Photo London, Parr presents a series of previously-unseen images studying British culture from niche viewpoints. Speaking on the exhibition, Parr said: “Presented here at Photo London are recent images that have not been shown before, mostly taken very recently and show highlights from my ongoing documentation of the British Isles. Many familiar subjects are found here such as my long fascination with the British seaside and the ongoing documenting of agricultural shows and summer fetes. New discoveries are always being made such as the wonderful steam fair in Dorset or the half marathon in Bristol.”


Gaotai Gallery – China

Widely regarded as one of China’s most promising young photographers, Hailun Ma’s solo spot at this year’s fair displays her latest series of works, Uruklyn. Capturing ordinary city dwellers and the everyday lives of youth in her home town of Xinjiang, Ma’s expressive work brings the stories of her neighbours to an international audience.


New Dimension Gallery – London

Here’s one to make you forget you’re in central London and transport you instantly to the Amalfi Coast. Titled Naples, Sam Wright’s series offers a vibrant documentation of the Italian city through portraits of its locals and landscapes. Backdropped by Mount Vesuvius and shored by the Mediterranean Sea, Wright photographs the diverse communities living in the city as they chill in the heat and swim in the local lakes. (Great timing for this one considering last week saw Napoli win their first Serie A title in three decades – sending the city wild.)


Cutts Gallery – Canada

The meticulously staged scenes of Carlos and Jason Sanchez’s photography meditate on the known and unknown of an alternate reality. Always shot with an undertone of eeriness, suspense and sensationalism, the duo’s custom-built sets or chosen locations are mysterious trips into the extremes of everyday life as enigmatic moments from broader narratives are frozen, distorted and never fully revealed.


TJ Boulting – London

Using AI to recreate personal memories, Maisie Cousins seeks to recreate lost family videos of trips to cult British theme park Blobbyland with her grandad. Named Walking Back To Happiness after the Helen Shapiro song her grandad used to play in the car, AI scenes create imaginary amusement parks and holiday camps that tap into memories with an eerie sense of dreamy reality.

Maisie Cousins, Bug, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and TJ Boulting.

Galeri XII – Paris

Exhibiting a group show from Anja Niemi, Sacha Golberger and Charloee Mano, Galeri XII is holding a magnifying glass up to the cinematic nature of narrative photography. Niemi is both author and character in her latest series The Rider, while Golberger presents a fictionalised vision of the arrival of Roswell aliens in California and Mano dissects the power of representation and transparency in her series Mythologies.


Galleria Valeria Bella – Milan

Through imagery from past and present, Milan’s Galleria Valeria Bella is exploring the changes in cultural landscapes, presenting a group exhibition from Giovanni Hänninen, Fausto Giaccone, Federica Belli, Sofia Uslengh, Guido Guidi, Davide Monteleon and Jérôme Sessini.

Belli’s body of work in particular is a striking investigation into Gen Z. The photographer portrays herself in various situations alongside her peers predominantly in the nude, depicting “not an erotic nude, but a psychological one.” Belli’s naked form mirrors her generation’s vulnerability as the young people in her photographs navigate a world void of certainty and plagued by the troubles of modernity. 


Homecoming Gallery – Amsterdam

In a vibrant ode to global cultures and communities, Amsterdam’s Homecoming Gallery is spotlighting emerging photographers from different backgrounds. Fenna Schilling, Eddie Wrey, Pia Riverola and Derrick Ofosu Boateng, each bring their heritage to the fore as Riverola captures colourful scenes from life in Mexico City and Ofosu Boateng crafts a vivid portrait of his home town in Ghana.


Photo London will take place at Somerset House from May 11th – 14th, more info here.

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