Photo London 2021
- Photo London was the first photography fair to take place anywhere in the world since 2019
- Over the five days of Fair, Photo London registered 35,000 visitors, and reported strong sales across all sectors
- 88 galleries from 15 countries took part in the Fair’s sixth edition.
- 99 galleries took part in the second edition of Photo London Digital
- Despite travel difficulties strong attendance from international museums and individual collectors
- Public programme exhibitions by Shirin Neshat and Robert Capa were widely praised as a highlight of the Fair
- Heather Agyepong, represented by James Hyman Gallery, won the Photo London x Nikon Emerging Photographer Award
- The acclaimed Talks Programme moved online and continues throughout September alongside Photo London Digital II, featuring over 28 events in all
- Seventh edition of the Fair to take place at Somerset house from 11 -15 May 2022
The sixth edition of Photo London closed Sunday, 12 September 2021, was a resounding success, having seen 35,000 visitors, robust sales across sectors, and major acquisitions by international institutions as well as important sales to private collectors.
“Bildhalle had one of the best fairs ever in London. We felt the joy, passion and hunger for art among the audience and other exhibitors after these difficult times. Sales, feedback and new connections exceeded our expectations. We’ll be happy to be back in May 2022.” –Mirjam Cavegn, Bildhalle (Zurich, Amsterdam)
“It’s so great to be part of the fair once again. Photo London is a unique event in such a great setting – a magnificent platform for our gallery and our artists to connect with art collectors and lovers alike.” – Jehan de Bujadoux, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff (Paris)
“Really enjoyed Photo London, well organised. Strong sales but also very good press and positive museum visits. And such a great setting and location” – Paul Stolper, Paul Stolper Gallery (London)
“This Photo London edition has been a good opportunity to reconnect with British collectors, who came through with a dynamic perspective. We showed a selection of vintage prints that were very well received, and we are honoured that they have joined important private collections.”– Clémentine de la Féronnière (Paris)
“Photo London 21 has exceeded all our expectations! We are excited to have generated plentiful sales for our artists and it was a real pleasure to meet so many international collectors, curators and friends!” – Brenna Horrox, Curator and Director of Hi-Noon (London)
“Photo London has been very successful for Photon Gallery this year, both in terms of sales and making new contacts, as it attracts a wide range of visitors. The fair is very professionally run and well organized in every way, which made it easy for us to navigate this relatively new market for us. We will be back and are already looking forward to the next edition in 2022.” – Špela Pipan, Photon Gallery (Ljubljana)
“Flowers Gallery was pleased to take part in a very successful 2021 edition of the fair, presenting works by Edward Burtynsky, Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Nadav Kander, Tom Lovelace, John MacLean, Simon Roberts, Esther Teichmann, Shen Wei and Michael Wolf. We were so pleased to welcome many new and existing collectors to the booth together with artists, friends and photography enthusiasts.” – Flowers Gallery (London)
“We are glad the fair finally took place this year. It was such a pleasure being here surrounded by other European galleries. The sale has been going really well even though our current international collectors couldn’t make it due to the pandemic. As a gallery that wants to promote new photographic writing, we are very pleased that the works of Charlotte Abramow and Almudena Romero have received so much interest. They are both at the forefront of new modes of expression and social issues as feminism and sustainability – two of the most crucial battles of our generation.” – Salomé d’Ornano, Fisheye Gallery (Paris)
“We are so thrilled to have participated in Photo London this year. Our first exhibition since the beginning of the pandemic, to be here with Tyler Shields and David Bailey has been an unforgettable and successful experience.” – Imitate Modern (London)
“Photo London was our first art fair participation after a two-year hiatus, and we were so excited to be back on the road. Obviously travel restrictions made it difficult for international visitors to attend the fair, especially from the United States. But we encountered a keenly interested London audience, enthusiastic for photography. We are excited about strong sales, to finally have encountered our old friends and clients again – and to have made many new ones.” – Robert Morat, Robert Morat Galerie (Berlin)
“Our GROB Gallery wall of artist Polaroids has captured the most attention, it tells the story of photography and endearingly the life story of its curator David GROB, which grouped all together is a rich tapestry of life. GROB Gallery also exhibits a spectacular and innovative solo show by British artist Damien Bergers. Photo London has opened its doors and hearts to welcome this fresh dialogue.” – Louise Grob, GROB Gallery (Genève)
The 2021 Fair welcomed back Photo London’s key institutional supporters, with representatives from patron circles and acquisition committees from around the world. In addition to the long-term relationships with the likes of Tate, Victoria & Albert Museum; Courtauld Institute of Art, Foam, and Palais de Tokyo, Photo London is delighted to welcome new patron groups from the Nederlands Fotomuseum (Rotterdam) as well as The Contemporary Art Society (London).
This year’s programme of VIP events was very well attended by private collectors from France, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and the US (to name just a few) who have been eager for the return of in-person tours and private viewings. Special highlights included a curator-led tour of the hidden collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum as well as a private viewing of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2021.
Our online VIP events continue until the end of September with an exciting series of virtual museum tours including “The New Woman behind the Camera” exhibition at Metropolitan Museum of Art New York; the “Frida Kahlo: Pose” at Rose Art Museum Boston; “Diana Markosian: Santa Barbara exhibition” at SFMOMA; and “Tokyo: Art & Photography” exhibition at Ashmolean Oxford.
The Public Programme exhibitions – Shirin Neshat: Land of Dreams and Close Enough: Robert Capa – both attracted a large audience and were a definite highlight for public and press alike.
Land of Dreams is Neshat’s latest body of work, and it was presented in full for her Master of Photography Exhibition at Photo London. This multidisciplinary project comprised of 111 photographic portraits and a two-channel film installation was originally commissioned for the artist’s major US museum survey in 2019 at The Broad Museum, Los Angeles before making its European debut at Goodman Gallery, London which was sadly cut short due to the Pandemic.
Close Enough: Robert Capa – presented in partnership with MESSUMS LONDON and the Kogan Collection – premiered at the fair before touring the gallery’s London, Wiltshire and Yorkshire venues between 15 September 2021 and Summer 2022. The exhibition is curated by Dr Julie Bonzon, Director of Photography at MESSUMS and Ben Burdett, Director of Atlas Gallery. Close Enough: Robert Capa featured over 50 iconic photographs by the legendary Hungarian American war reporter alongside his first Leica camera. Selected from the Kogan Collection, the photographs on view span from Capa’s first ever published work — a portrait of Leon Trotsky addressing students in Copenhagen in 1932 — through to his last, taken from the battlefields of the first Indochina war on which he died while reporting in 1954.
Other Public Programme highlights included the Graduates’ Salon, a photography student showcase supported by Scott Mead and The Stanley Foundation, and the Emerging Photographer Award, organised in collaboration with Nikon UK. The winner of the 2021 award is Heather Agyepong (represented by James Hyman Gallery), who will receive an ultimate Nikon camera + lens kit worth £6000 best suited to her photography style. The shortlisted photographers were Almudena Romero (represented by FishEye Gallery), Amber Pinkerton (Alice Black), Hsu Ching-Yuan (Galerie_Frederic_Moisan), Alia Ali (Galerie Peter Silem), and Oli Kellett (HackelBury Fine Art).
“What a wonderful surprise and a massive honour. It was brilliant to just have my work included at Photo London. Sincere thanks to the judges and James Hyman Gallery for their continued support towards my practice.” – Heather Agyepong
During the fair days, Nikon also presented a series of fully booked photographer masterclasses, studio shoots and architecture photography walks.
Prix Pictet participated for the first time this year with the Prix Pictet Lounge, where a special screening of works shortlisted for the award’s ninth cycle – Fire – was on view. The Lounge also hosted an engaging and timely panel discussion on NTFs titled Is digital the future of photography?, with speakers from the fair’s educational partner, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and several other leading experts in the field.
The British Journal of Photography ran a series of fully booked portfolio reviews with 30 participants looking to get advice on how to develop their body of work and a talk on emerging photography with four of their nominated ‘Ones to Watch’ talents: Sophie Gladstone, Tayo Adekunle, Asafe Ghalib, and Billy Barraclough.
Photo London will return to Somerset House for its seventh edition from 11–15 May 2022, while Photo London Digital II continues artsy.net until 28 September 2021, alongside the online Talks Programme curated by William A. Ewing, which can be viewed at photolondon.org/talks-programme.
Photo London Digital II showcases exhibitors who attended Photo London alongside a group of exhibitors who were not able to travel but wanted to participate in the fair.
The digital only exhibitors are:
- African Arty, Casablanca
- ASZ Fine ART, Buenos Aires
- Black Box Publishing, Cape Town
- CLAIRbyKhan, Erlenbach-Zürich
- Dewi Lewis Publishing, Stockport
- Elizabeth Houston Gallery, New York
- Euqinom Gallery, San Francisco
- Galerie de Bellefuille, Montréal, Toronto
- Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe
- Sakhile&me, Frankfurt am Main
- VIASATERNA, Milan
Commenting on the success of this year’s edition, the Fair’s founders Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad said, “Having steered this edition of Photo London through many difficult and uncertain days we were thrilled by the outcome and by the reaction of our dealers, VIP collectors and the general public. Even though the various travel restrictions meant that many of our stalwarts (particularly the American galleries) were unable to attend we were still able to welcome a very strong roster of exhibitors. And similarly, while many of the important individual collectors and museum groups were stranded at home, we were thrilled to hear galleries reporting sales to a wide range of new collectors from London and Europe. The fact that our attendance figures were only slightly below those from 2019 (which was a record year) is nothing short of remarkable and an all illustration of people’s enthusiasm to get out from behind their computer screens, to see work on the wall and talk in person with experts and artists. Long may that continue… The outpouring of enthusiasm for Photo London 21 is a great testament to the work we have done to stay in touch with our audiences throughout the pandemic. It is a reminder of the strength of Photo London and the depth of potential for future development.”
8–12 September 2021, Somerset House
Photo London Digital
8–28 September 2021, artsy.com and photolondon.org