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Hubert de Givenchy and Eartha Kitt, 1961
Hubert de Givenchy and Eartha Kitt, 1961 | Courtesy of Tony Vaccaro/Getty Images Gallery and Monroe Gallery of Photography
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The Photography Exhibitions to See in London This Autumn

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 21 September 2018
We’ve rounded up the very best photography exhibitions the capital has to offer. From pop-ups to survey shows, these are the ones you don’t want to miss this autumn.

Alex Prager at The Photographers’ Gallery

Featuring both film works and over 40 photographs, this mid-career survey showcases the dynamism of Prager’s unique eye. Appropriating the aesthetics of Film Noir along with photographic giants like William Eggleston and Diane Arbus, Prager crafts staged filmic scenarios – often shot from an aerial perspective – which emphasises each individual character. Don’t miss Despair (2010), Prager’s first foray into film featuring Bryce Dallas Howard as her leading lady.

Alex Prager: Silver Lake Drive is at The Photographers’ Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW until 14 October 2018. £2.50-4 (free entry between 10am and 12pm).

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Alex Prager, ‘The Big Valley: Eve’, 2008 | © Alex Prager Studio. Courtesy Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

‘Expectations’ at Black Cultural Archives

Neil Wenlock, along with the help of his daughter, has trawled through his extensive archive to showcase the portraits he took of important figures in black British history. From the South Londoner’s famous image of Barbara Grey pointing at racist graffiti ‘Keep Britain White’ to his documentation of British Black Panther marches, Wenlock provides a visual narrative of what Britain was like for the black community in the ’60s and ’70s.

Expectations: The Untold Story of Black British Community Leaders in the 1960s and 1970s is at Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, Brixton, London SW2 1EF until 28 September 2018. Free.

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‘Keep Britain White’, Barbara Grey (Balham) (1974) | © Neil Kenlock

‘Collaborative Portraiture’ at the Magnum Print Room

Three Magnum photographers explore different approaches to female portraiture. Carolyn Drake, Bieke Depoorter and Susan Meiselas each adopted a collaborative approach, with the sitters having as much control of their representation as the person ‘taking’ the photograph.

Collaborative Portraiture is at the Magnum Print Room, 63 Gee St, London EC1V 3RS until 25 October 2018, Wednesday-Friday. Free.

FRANCE. Paris. Agata. 2017.
Carolyn Drake, Agata, 2017 | © Carolyn Drake/Magnum Photos

Omar Victor Diop at Autograph

Wanting to reframe the way history has represented black people, Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop creates fascinating staged portraits that explore the struggle for human rights and freedom. Here, two of Diop’s most recent series are being presented; they feature the artist taking on the role of various black figures from history, such as World War II soldiers, migrants and railway workers, to challenge the depiction of Africans in art.

Omar Victor Diop: Liberty/Diaspora is at Autograph, Rivington Place, London EC2A 3BA until 3 November 2018. Free.

8) Omar Ibn Saïd © Omar Victor Diop
Omar Victor Diop, Omar Ibn Saïd (1770–1964), from the series ‘Project Diaspora’, 2014 | Courtesy © Omar Victor Diop / MAGNIN-A, Paris

Tony Vaccaro at the Getty Images Gallery

The 95-year-old photographer’s first exhibition in London for more than 50 years, this is an epic journey through Tony Vaccaro’s eight-decade oeuvre that has encompassed a wealth of subjects including wartime, travel and fashion. Considered a legend of the humanist genre, you’ll encounter the full breadth of Vaccaro’s talent, which documented D-Day and post-war Europe as well as celebrities.

Tony Vaccaro: From Shadow to Light at the Getty Images Gallery, London until 27 October 2018. Free.

Eartha Kitt and Givenchy
Hubert de Givenchy and Eartha Kitt, 1961 | Courtesy of Tony Vaccaro/Getty Images Gallery and Monroe Gallery of Photography

Malick Sidibé at HackelBury Fine Art

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, HackleBury Fine Art is hosting Sidibé’s first solo show in London since his Somerset House presentation in 2016. The Malian photographer is known for his powerful black-and-white photographs that capture the vivacious culture and cosmopolitan youths of 1960s and 1970s Bamako, Mali. Here, studio portraiture is juxtaposed with nightlife photography.

Malick Sidibé: Look At Me is at HackelBury Fine Art, 4 Launceston Place, London W8 5RL until 6 October 2018. Free.

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Malick Sidibé, A Ye-Ye posing, 1963/2008 | © Malick Sidibé / Courtesy HackelBury Fine Art

‘Yamal’ at the Horniman Museum

Between 1993 and 2018, Bryan Alexander has been photographing the daily life of the Nanets, the largest indigenous group in Siberia. With a population of 45,000, many still live nomadic lives in the Yamal region, breeding reindeer. Over the past 25 years, the British photographer has captured the cultural and economic changes – such as loss of reindeer pastures due to the ever-expanding gas and oil industry – that have hugely affected the Nanets livelihood.

Yamal: The Stream of Life is at the Horniman Museum’s Balcony Gallery, until 6 January 2019. Free.

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Dressed in traditional Nenets reindeer skin clothing, Neseynya Serotetto, takes a selfie with Tyurko Puuko at Yar-sale, Yamal, NW Siberia, Russia | © B&C Alexander / ArcticPhoto

Hunter Barnes at the David Hill Gallery

Coinciding with the Reel Art Press publication Off the Strip, this exhibition presents Barnes’s latest work, which documents the people who shaped Las Vegas in its heyday. Wanting to re-evaluate American locations that are often misrepresented, Barnes spent 2017 immersed in the vivid lives of the characters that shaped the desert metropolis. From cocktail waitresses and lounge singers to bodyguards and boxing judges, Barnes creates an evocative portrait of the city.

Hunter Barnes: Off the Strip is at the David Hill Gallery, 345 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 6HA until 26 October 2018. Free.

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‘Pink Cadillac’ | © Hunter Barnes

‘London Nights’ at the Museum of London

Once the sun goes down on London, an entirely different urban landscape emerges and it’s this after-dark temperament that has long fascinated photographers, artists, writers and filmmakers. From illuminated suburban streets and Nick Turpin’s remarkably evocative shots of passengers on the night bus to Bill Brandt’s photographs of Londoners seeking refuge in London Underground stations during the Blitz to the electric and eccentric characters of Soho in Damien Frost’s portraits, London’s nocturnal pursuits and personality come alive in this extraordinary show.

London Nights is at the Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN until 11 November 2018. Tickets are £5.50-12.50.

Through A Glass Darkly #34
Nick Turpin, ‘Through A Glass Darkly #34’, 2016 | Courtesy of Museum of London

‘The Great British Seaside’ at the National Maritime Museum

Britain might not be known for its sunny weather, but that hasn’t stopped our love affair with the British seaside. This spring, the National Maritime Museum explores the traditions and eccentric customs of ‘a quintessentially British experience’, as well as the relationships we form with them, through the works of four celebrated photographers: Martin Parr, Tony Ray-Jones, David Hurn and Simon Roberts. Including newly commissioned works by Parr that capture London’s ‘local beaches’, you’ll discover the seaside isn’t all about fish and chips.

The Great British Seaside: Photography from the 1960s to the present is at the National Maritime Museum until 30 September 2018. £7.65-11.50.

photography exhibitions, london
Martin Parr, GB England Dorset, from ‘West Bay’, 1996 | © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Want to see more exhibitions in London? Here are the best and free shows not to miss.