Friday, June 10, 2016

Photo London and Offprint London - a review from E-Photo


The E-Photo newsletter offers one of the most comprehensive overviews of the photo-world that you could find anywhere. In their issue number 225 which arrived in my inbox today, Michael Diemar takes a look at the in and outs, ups and downs of the second incarnation of Photo London and Offprint London that happened this last May.

The E-Photo newsletter is protected by copyright, and quite right too.... so here are just a couple of paragraphs to give you an idea of what you will find when you go to their website HERE.

On Photo London: Will they be able to repeat last year's success?"  That was the question gallerists, dealers and observers asked themselves as the organisers, Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad of Candlestar, opened the second edition of the re-launched Photo London at Somerset House on May 18th.The enormous success of the 2015 edition took most of the photography world by surprise.  It had been preceded by a great deal of doubt, and in the city itself, more than a little of good old-fashioned British defeatism and grumbling. 
The dealers and galleries specialising in classic photography who had exhibited at the first incarnation of Photo London, organised by Daniel Newburg, then taken over ever so briefly by Reed Exhibitions, who cancelled it after 2007, had had less than good experiences of the city.  And those experiences could be summed up as: "You simply can't sell high-end photographs in London.
Nothing much had changed on that score last year, but there was enough business in the mid-range to keep the exhibitors happy.  Somerset House, with its neoclassical architecture and rooms in different sizes made a welcome change from the standard layout of most art fairs.  Not that there weren't flaws last year.  A-list exhibitors were mixed with C-list and there was far too much of what Robert Hughes, in relation to painting, once described as "decorative indifference", a quality I would be tempted to call "Art Lite".

And Offprint: While domestic recruitment to classic photography is slow, it has been that much stronger in photobooks.  On Friday, May 22 and running for four days, Tate Modern gave up a large section of the Turbine Hall to Offprint, an art publishing fair with a focus on photobooks, with roughly 150 artists, independent and self-publishers, as well as dealers in rare photobooks taking part.  Prices ranged from five pounds (about $7) for photocopied publications to thousands and thousands for those rare titles.  The place was absolutely packed on opening night and the atmosphere was almost like a rave party.  It was mostly a young crowd, but I also spotted Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, whose excellent three volume "The Photobook : A History" has become the standard work.

Photo London offer a virtual visit on their website HERE.

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