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Bontongu, the last Bantu Walé, 2013/2014
Bontongu, the last Bantu Walé, 2013/2014 | © Patrick Willocq. Courtesy VisionQuesT 4rosso
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A Close-up on Photo London 2018

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 18 May 2018
As Photo London returns to Somerset House for its fourth edition, we take a closer look at the intimate and fascinating fair, which has turned London into one of the world’s photography capitals. This year, the internationally-acclaimed exhibition wants to celebrate ‘the power of photography to profoundly alter the way in which we see things.’

As with previous years, you’ll encounter a wide variety of practices that explore a multitude of subjects. This May, you can learn about the early work of photography pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot, shown next to contemporary creators, and find the next photography star in the Discovery section, which once again is championing emerging talent, such as Japanese photographer Yusuke Yamatani, showing with Yuka Tsuruno Gallery. Also, you’ll be able to admire the work of five Korean and Japanese artists using photography to confront issues of gender and race in Exit from Paradise, and explore the International Center of Photography’s extensive archive of over 5,000 images through interactive installation Unwavering Vision #3.

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Photo London 2016 | Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Photo London

Down in the Embankment galleries are rarely seen new large-scale photographs of expansive mines in Arizona and saw mills in Nigeria by this year’s Master of Photography, the Canadian fine art photographer Edward Burtynsky. Known for his immense landscapes which document the detrimental impact of human existence on the planet, the works from his latest project, Anthropocene, are presented alongside his first Augmented Reality work that takes you inside a recycling yard in Accra, Ghana. These are fascinating images, full of microscopic detail on a macro level.

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Installation view of Edward Burtynsky, Master of Photography at Photo London 2018.

With over 100 galleries from 18 countries showcasing hundreds of photographers bringing their unique vision of the world to the banks of the Thames, here are the highlights of Photo London 2018.

Gohar Dashti at Mohsen Gallery (Booth A6)

The Iranian artist is becoming a firm favourite after her successful presentation at Photofairs | San Francisco earlier this year. Since graduating from the Photography MFA at Tehran University of Art, Dashti has focused on making large-scale work concerned with cultural history, anthropology and sociology. Using her own experiences and memories as a starting point, Dashti’s work is a poetic exploration of universal dilemmas. Mohsen Gallery are exhibiting a number of works, including her series Home (2017) that questions the current climate of transience and displacement.

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Gohar Dashti, Home, 2017 | Courtesy Mohsen Gallery

Ryota Kikuchi at Kana Kawanishi Gallery (Booth D7)

The young Japanese artist presents his unique vision of the city from his perspective as a free climber. Through a variety of daredevil physical interventions, the urban landscape as we know it can be interrupted. Kikuchi explains: ‘My aim is for my work to express what is beautiful from my unique point of view, which I sense not only with my eyes but also with my body and through my movements.’ Kana Kawanishi Gallery are showing pieces including his wittily-titled stuck_love (2014).

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Ryota Kikuchi, stuck_love, 2014 | Courtesy Kana Kawanishi Gallery

Alexey Titarenko at Nailya Alexander Gallery (Booth C9)

Titarenko rose to prominence for his work capturing the impact of the fall of the Soviet Union on the Russian people. Through the use of long exposures, Titarenko’s City of Shadows series evokes a sense of collective struggle and emptiness as dramatic change bought about deprivation. Taken at the exit of Vasileostrovskaya Station in St Petersburg, the black-and-white photographs are haunting and emotionally charged.

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Alexey Titarenko, Crowd from ‘City of Shadows’ (1992-1994) | Courtesy Nailya Alexander Gallery

Janet Delaney at Euqinom Projects (Booth D18)

Now based in Berkeley, Janet Delaney lived around San Francisco’s Mission district, which was a primarily Latino neighbourhood at the time, in the mid 80s. She attended parades, marches and rallies, capturing the crowds and individuals, from salesmen to dancers. The photographs she took formed her Public Matters (1982–1988) series, which celebrates the West Coast city’s ‘progressive ideas’ and drive for social justice during the turbulent Reagan era.

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Installation of Janet Delaney’s ‘Public Matters’ at Photo London 2018 | Courtesy EUQINOMprojects

Patrick Willocq at VisionQuest (Booth F6)

For seven years, this self-taught French photographer lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Wanting to give a fresh perspective on the Congo and Africa, Willocq has devoted his time to creating truly unique collaborations with indigenous people. Crafting complex stages in the middle of the jungle, he illustrates the rites of passage first-time mothers from various Pygmy clans in the equatorial forest, known as Walés, have to go through.

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Bontongu, the last Bantu Walé from ‘Songs of the Walés’ series, 2013/2014 | © Patrick Willocq. Courtesy VisionQuesT 4rosso

Photo London is at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA from Thursday, May 17 to Sunday, May 20, 2018. Ticketed entry: £29, £22 concs.

Want to see more photography in London? Here are the exhibitions to see during Photo London.