A bite (and byte) sized take on Photo London
The fair takes in every continent and technological period in a wide-ranging survey of global image making
Is photography the most democratic medium? While oil painting, sculpture, and even poetry require a certain amount of education, training and investment, photography – once a refined, gentlemanly pastime – can be practiced fairly easily by any one of the world’s 2.5 billion smartphone users.
This wide geographical spread is reflected in Photo London, Britain’s leading photography fair, which opens tomorrow at Somerset House in the British capital, with compelling works representing every continent and every period, from Fox Talbot onwards, including some new pieces created by artificial intelligence.
The artist, technologist and Phaidon author Trevor Paglen made his Adversarially Evolved Hallucinations images by training an artificial intelligence programme to recognize certain types of images, such as omens, monsters, and dreams. He then used another AI application to create a new series of eerie, beautiful images, based on the first AI app’s findings. Confused? Then allow Paglen to explain his work and outlook in the fair’s Talks Auditorium, on Thursday 17 May, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm.
The street photography pioneer and Phaidon author Joel Meyerowitz also puts in an appearance at the Talks Auditorium on 19 May, 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm discussing a more comprehensible technical development. Entitled Why Colour?, Joel’s talk will cover his early adoption of full-colour photography – shooting on colour film at time when most fine-art photographers were using back and white stock.
For more great 20th century colour work, take a look at the Soviet pioneer Boris Mikhailov, whose sexually charged, subversive colour work from the 1960s and 70s is on show at Sprovieri gallery’s stand, alongside more recent photo montages by that great chronicler of New York life Nan Goldin.
Roger Ballen’s brilliantly eerie Boarding House and Outland images are a big draw at Spanish gallery Camara Oscura’s booth.
The late French fashion photographer Guy Bourdin is represented at Louise Alexander Gallery, which is displaying a rare collection of Bourdin’s Polaroids.
The Japanese monochrome master Daido Moriyama has his work on show at not one but three different booths. Look out for his pictures at Akio Nagasawa Gallery, Hamiltons and IBASHO; IBASHO also have works by the fellow Japanese master Nobuyoshi Araki.
And anyone intrigued by the interaction between fine photography and architecture should take in Large Glass’s booth, which has Hélène Binet’s photographs on display. Best known for her architectural photography, Binet also shot Zaha Hadid’s Meshworks art installation, a series of nylon-coated wire strands, installed in Rome back in 2000. Through the perennial magic of photography, Binet’s photos capture the spectacle perfectly.
For more on Trevor Paglen get this book; for more on Joel go here; for more on Boris Mikhailov buy this title; for more on Nan Goldin get these books and prints; for more on Roger Ballen go here; for greater insight into Guy Bourdin get this; for more on Daido Moriyama buy this monograph; for Araki’s work, go here; and for more on Hélène Binet order this.