Six Culturalee Picks: Photo London 

Lovers of photography are in for a treat with the 9th edition of Photo London coming to Somerset House, and a host of photography exhibitions opening in the capital. More than 120 exhibitors and 400 artists from over 30 countries are exhibiting at Photo London. A wide range of styles and genres are on display, meaning there is something for everyone, from vintage to contemporary photography.  

Highlights of Photo London’s 9th edition include the 2024 Master of Photography Valérie Belin, whose retrospective exhibition ‘Silent Stories’ takes over the vast galleries beneath Somerset House, as well as presentation of iconic 20th-century photographers Lee Miller and Helen Levitt (Zander Galerie), and contemporary stars including Lydia Goldblatt, Jacquie Maria Wessels, Siân Davey and Sarah Moon.  

The 2024 Discovery section is curated by Charlotte Jansen and introduces positions, a new direction for Photo London which features 5 unrepresented artists supported by collectors and patrons.

Representing the genre of fashion photography are Steven Meisel, Max Vadukul, Patrick Demarchelier and Roland Belgrave. Legendary photographer David Bailey is exhibiting at Camera Eye at the fair, and also unveiled a joint exhibition with Mary McCartney at Claridges Art Space in Mayfair, while an exhibition of Elton John’s photography collection has opened at the V&A. 

Here are Six Culturalee Picks at Photo London. 

Rodney Smith at Staley-Wise Gallery

American photographer Rodney Smith is exhibiting for the first time in the UK with Staley-Wise Gallery. Rodney Lewis Smith (1947–2016) was born in New York City and created a body of whimsical work often featuring his beloved New York as the star. His images of socialites and fashionable characters in sumptuous and intriguing settings were imbued with an intriguing sense of narrative and invite comparison to the surrealist painter Rene Magritte. He gained critical acclaim for his stylish monochrome images combining portraiture with landscape and created enchanted worlds full of subtle contradictions and surprises. Using only film and light, his un-retouched, dream-like images are matched in quality by the craft and physical beauty of his prints. 

Rodney Smith at Staley-Wise Gallery. Photography by Culturalee.

Mariano Vivanco – Peru at Fru Tholstrup 

Curator Fru Tholstrup is showcasing the breathtaking images of fine art photographer, Mariano Vivanco, taken from his latest book ‘PERU’. Vivanco’s project delves into Peru’s history and folklore, capturing it through stunning imagery. From the Moche and Nazca cultures to the Inca Empire, Vivanco’s photos chronicle the country’s rich heritage. Mythologies like El Bufeo Colorado and figures such as Tupac Amaru II are vividly portrayed. ‘PERU’ is a unique journey through Vivanco’s lens, blending history, fashion, and visual storytelling.

Vivanco’s Peruvian heritage and peripatetic upbringing has provided endless inspiration for his photography. He made a name for himself as a fashion photographer, but the images he created for his epic series ‘Peru’ have a cinematic, otherworldly aesthetic, and draw on Peruvian history and fairytales. 

Peru by Mariano Vivanco. Photograph by Culturalee.

Giuseppe Lo Schiavo at Spazio Nuovo

Roman Gallery Spazio Nuovo are exhibiting breath-taking images of the Greek and Italian sea and lush gardens by Italian photographer Giuseppe Lo Schiavo. Through his photography, Schiavo creates a bridge between art and science, acknowledging the presence of technology while paying homage to classical antiquity and the beauty of nature. Lo Schiavo is always seeking new ways to make connections between art and science, using machine learning, AI, virtual reality, infrared systems or even microorganisms in a lab. His ‘Windowscapes’ series depict an idealized landscape and an exaggerated simulation of reality that he defines as ‘hyper-natural’.

Giuseppe Lo Schiavo courtesy Spazio Nuovo.

Sarah Moon at Persiehl & Heine and Peter Fetterman Gallery

Sarah Moon is one of France’s most renowned contemporary fashion photographers, and her work is known internationally for its ethereal, dreamy beauty. Moon’s photography evokes an elusive narrative and a timeless aesthetic. Her images capture the essence of the clothes, while paying homage to a bygone era of fashion, and emitting a magical aura.

Sarah Moon at Persiehl & Heine. Photograph by Culturalee.


David Bailey at Camera Eye and David Bailey & Mary McCartney at Claridges Project Space 

In celebration of Photo London, Claridges ArtSpace have launched an exhibition of David Bailey and Mary McCartney’s photography, curated by Brandei Estes. David Bailey, such an iconic, groundbreaking photographer that he is known simply as ‘Bailey’, is in a visual dialogue with Mary McCartney, daughter of the famous musician Paul, who has made a name for herself as one of the foremost photographers of her generation. Bailey and McCartney represent different generations of British photography, and Estes brings them into direct dialogue for the first time, discovering that they have in common an innate sense of theatricality and drama, and an ability to capture the aura of their sitters.  

David Bailey, Marie Helvin Legs. Courtesy of the artist.

Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection at the V&A

The V&A is presenting a major exhibition of modern and contemporary photography, on loan from the private collection of Sir Elton John and David Furnish. Showcasing over 300 rare prints from over 140 photographers – the majority of which will be on display to the public for the first time. Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection is the V&A’s largest temporary exhibition of photography to date and features work by Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, William Eggleston, Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Zanele Muholi, Ai Weiwei, Carrie Mae Weems and others. Following on from the 2016 exhibition The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection at the Tate Modern, this exhibition covers the period from the 1950s to the present day, and brings together an unrivalled selection of the world’s leading photographers to tell the story of modern and contemporary photography. Also on display are the very first acquisitions made by John, fashion photographs by Horst P. Horst, Irving Penn and Herb Ritts, as well as some of the newest additions to their collection including Tyler Mitchell, Trevor Paglen and An-My Lê. 

Fragile Beauty Exhibition, 14th May 2024. Courtesy V&A.

Photo London is at Somerset House until 19th May:

Double Exposure: David Bailey & Mary McCartney is at Claridges ArtSpace in Mayfair until 19th July, 2024. 

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