The 9th Edition of Photo London

The 9th Edition of Photo London

The ninth edition of Photo London captivated audiences with an array of exhibitions, talks, and new sections highlighting the innovative and evolving nature of contemporary photography. The fair features a diverse range of works from established and emerging photographers, offering a rich tapestry of visual storytelling. The 2024 Master of Photography, Valérie Belin (b.1964, France), introduced her exhibition “Silent Stories”, setting the tone for the event. Artvisor looks closer at some of the standout sections of this year’s fair, as one explores the halls of Somerset House.

Valérie Belin’s Silent Stories

Valérie Belin’s “Silent Stories” at Embankment East Gallery. This exhibition showcases her intricate work that often blends portraiture, still life, and occasionally nude studies. Belin’s work is known for its exploration of artificiality, often morphing into portrayals that mimic Westernised beauty standards. Her current approach involves digital layering, creating complex images with superimposed comic strips and projections of the figure’s inner self.

In the final room of the exhibition Belin presents “Lady Starburst,” shown in London for the first time. This series portrays a violent and virulent urban environment, with names and themes that evoke the duality of female power and vulnerability. When we asked about her focus on the female form, Belin explained that women embody changeability, being both victims and powerful entities, a reflection of her own experiences as a woman.

Robert Hershkowitz’s The Magic Art of French Calotypes: Paper Negative Photography 1846 – 1860

See/Change: Art Collection Deutsche Börse @25

The Discovery Section and Emerging Artists

This year’s discovery section was curated by critic and author Charlotte Jansen, the first female curator in this category. With the support of Photo London’s Associate Director Sophie Parker, the section brings together 25 galleries, and approaches the concept of ‘discovery’ as a weighted term. Jansen notes that our digital zeitgeist in which mass image transactions occur, it is easy to misattribute something as being valuable, simply because it has a high circulation rate.

Following this thought-process one might have the impression that an artist who has less of a digital platform may be regarded as ‘emergent’ or ‘discovered’, when in fact they have been in practice for a long time. Thus Jansen ponders the semantic weight of these words and approaches this section with a view to finding talent that are unrepresented, the Positions section being an example of this, focusing on five young women artists whose work challenges the traditional notions of beauty. Or artists who have less exhibition history, perhaps artists who have not received global acclaim yet but hold value within their country of origin.