Capturing the Highlights of Photo London's Ninth Edition

Words by
Candice Tucker

16th May 2024

Photo London has returned to Somerset House for its ninth edition, showcasing over 120 exhibitors. Candice Tucker dropped in for the preview ahead of the official opening today and reports back.

This year’s Photo London unfolded as a captivating celebration of the art of photography, showcasing an extraordinary breadth of styles and themes. From traditional forms to innovative, boundary-pushing techniques, the event served as a testament to the ever-evolving nature of the medium.

Frédéric Flachéron -an old image of roman ruins in grey and white
Frédéric Flachéron, Forum, Rome, 1850

Works on display ranged from the deeply personal to the politically charged, encompassing everything from social documentary to the allure of fashion, music and travel imagery.

Valérie Belin - a photograph of a very colourful fruit  in a basket
Valérie Belin, Sans Titre (Fruit Baskets series), 2007, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia

At the forefront of this year's fair was the exceptional French photographer Valérie Belin, honoured as the Photo London Master of Photography 2024. Belin's exhibition, "Silent Stories," offered a retrospective spanning over three decades of her influential work, showcasing her mastery in shaping the medium. The works played with the concept of still life, the living and the artificial. Belin describes her photographs as being “neither narrative nor documentary and tell no particular stories but are designed to be seen as the mirror of fictions without words.”

Valérie Belin - a photograph of a woman with dark hair wearing a pearl necklace covered in flowers over layered on her
Valérie Belin, Study for Black Eyed Susan #7,2013-2023, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia

The fair presented noteworthy solo exhibitions by leading women photographers from both past and present, including luminaries like Helen Levitt, whose rare unseen colour photography was unveiled, to contemporary figures such as Lydia Goldblatt, Jacquie Maria Wessels, and Siân Davey. Davey’s works in ‘The Garden’, were presented exquisitely in a small room covered in flowers and plants, reflecting the images of the artists hung on the wall. It was like seeing the images in real time.

Siân Davey - a woman lying in a pink dress on the ground of a garden with flowers and green plants
Siân Davey, The Garden, 2021-2023, Courtesy the artist and Trolley Books, Michael Hoppen Gallery

If in search for some exquisite fashion photography, stopping by Ira Stehmann Fine Art is a must as the gallery displays iconic works by Steven Meisel and Max Vadukul.  From Meisel's evocative editorial spreads to Vadukul's striking portraits, the gallery offers a glimpse into the evolution of fashion imagery, capturing moments of glamour, elegance, and intrigue.

Steven Meisel - A woman laying her head on a table
Steven Meisel,Linda Evangelista, for Vogue Italia, Paris, 1990, Ira Stehmann Fine Art

Commenting on the strength of the Fair’s ninth edition, Photo London’s Founders Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad stated, ‘Once again, Photo London presents a compelling showcase of photography in all its brilliantly varied guises — a vibrant overview of the most influential and widely enjoyed medium of our times.”

Rodney Smith - A woman lying on a bed with a white dress hanging beside her
Rodney Smith, Odalisque No.1, Winfield Estate, Long Island, New York, 2004, courtesy Staley Wise Gallery

As anticipation builds for the landmark tenth edition next year, Photo London 2024 sets a high standard, laying the foundation for a spectacular celebration of photography’s enduring legacy.

Visit Photo London from 16th-19th May: