Photo London returns to the capital’s Somerset House again in May the art Fair which also features a host of interesting talks on top is a must-visit for photography fans. We catch up with the event organisers to find out more.
Photo London is now in its third year; what did you set out to bring to Photo London this year to make it better than ever before?
For 2017 we are focusing on the future directions of photography, so we have almost doubled the Discovery section, which is a dedicated space for younger galleries in operation for five years or less. With exhibitions like Mat Collishaw’s Thresholds using cutting-edge Virtual Reality technology for example, we are demonstrating how the medium can be pushed to new places. Of course, we also have several major international art galleries like Victoria Miro, Alison Jacques and Sprüth Magers joining our photography specialists this year which adds an extra air of excitement.
What makes Somerset House the ideal setting for Photo London?
Somerset House is perfect for Photo London as it is situated right at the heart of London’s transport network, close to the West End and other popular cultural institutions that we collaborate with like the National Portrait gallery, Barbican and Tate, all while surrounded by amazing places to eat, drink and stay. The building itself is magnificent inside and out, and is a microcosm of British culture and heritage, stretching back centuries. Visitors can’t help but be doubly impressed by the rooms in which the photographs hang.
What qualities do you look for most when choosing your exhibitors?
As Photo London aims to be a world-class destination for showcasing the best of contemporary photography while appreciating the historical foundations laid by the medium’s pioneers, our exhibitors are carefully considered by an international panel of experts. We want to show the kind of work that inspires the audience, piques their interest and maybe even encourages them to buy something special.
What unique qualities makes Photo London stand out from other Photography exhibitions?
Photo London is a Fair first and foremost, so it is unique in the UK as being the largest gathering of commercial photography galleries from all over the world. Everything the galleries exhibit is for sale.
On the other hand, Photo London’s Public Programme is a handpicked selection of commissioned installations and exhibitions that, in the majority of cases, can only be seen during the Fair. Our Talks Programme runs throughout the exhibiting period and is packed with inspiring presentations and conversations by some of photography and popular culture’s biggest names from Taryn Simon to Brian May, and Bruce Davidson to Antony Gormley. In short, there is no other event like Photo London in the UK, or indeed on the world stage.
Do you feel Photo London attracts visitors outside of a typical art audience, and if so how?
We know that Photo London has a fantastic core audience of photography enthusiasts, but we also know that people who enjoy visiting museums, theatres and concerts also come to Photo London. Now that almost everyone owns a camera today thanks to mobile devices, Photo London can be the cultural event that helps provide context to this. We provide a multi-faceted experience, where a visitor can walk in from Victoria Embankment and get just as much enjoyment from their visit as the art student who waits all year to come.