THE BEST OF PHOTO LONDON 2021
Updated: Oct 16, 2021
ARTHUR STEEL b.1936
Galerie Prints London
Almost hidden at the bottom of one of the walls of Somerset House, I found "Well Heeled" by renowned British photojournalist Arthur Steel taken in 1973 at Westminster Bridge, my choice to celebrate Photo London 2021 after last year's physical absence and the first anniversary of Photo London digital.
2021, a crucial year for Britain. On its first year after Brexit surrounded by a ruthless pandemic which caused major disruption, Photo London was able to successfully exhibit its sixth edition at Somerset House and the second edition of Photo London Digital with more than 90 galleries around the world. A heroic work by Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad, founders and directors of Photo London. Thank you both for keeping this important event alive, a world-class photography platform to discover and connect the best galleries, photographers and collectors from around the world. A true stage for all iconic masters and emerging new talents in the art of photography.
The digital transformation of the analog age has definitely crowned its transition. Kodak, Fuji, Agfa and Ilford are now the grandfathers of the extraordinary possibilities offered by Adobe, Canon, Nikon and Apple Technology. Textures and colours were two elements in full this year, giving great strength to the content of the images. From the beauty of fashion models to the impossible-to-ignore tragedy present in many people's lives today, the Portrait took over this magnificent feast of images in a full spectrum.
The following selection was painstakingly difficult to make and it is based on my perception of what for me was just some of the best on display. I will leave some links at the end of the post where you can enjoy the rest of the exhibitors.
THANDIWE MURIU "The CAMO Collection"
193 Gallery Paris
Self-taught at "YouTube University", Muriu describes her work as a reflection of who she is, a representation of her colourful African culture and her passion for fashion. This collection of powerful and boldly coloured portraits is impossible to forget. Once you see it, it remains in your mind like an incandescent light. (CAMO = Short for Camouflage)
CAMO 2, 2015
CAMO 19, 2021
Child's Play, 2018 © Thandiwe Muriu
DON BROWN b.1962
Paul Stolper Gallery London
Don Brown is a sculptor and photographer dedicated to the representation of his wife and muse Yoko through his works of art. The original pieces are made to a three-quarter scale and not from a life cast, showing the technical virtuosity that he possesses as a sculptor. His photographic work is clean, sober and minimalist. Exquisite!
Yoko XXII , 2012
Yoko XX, 2015
Yoko XXII , 2012 © Don Brown
MARC LAGRANGE (1957 - 2015)
Smith Davidson Gallery Amsterdam - Miami
Marc Lagrange's photographs celebrate "fantasies and desires that place beauty and dreams at the centre of his world." Privileging analog over digital, he maintains the allure of film photography by capturing the charm of the early 20th century with the strength and possibilities of contemporary art.
Black Parrot , 2015
Eskimo Girl , 2001
Icarus , 2010 © Marc Lagrange Archives
29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery Milano
Jon Rankin's collection of celebrity portraits is vast and has made the covers of the most prestigious magazines in the world. Beyond his striking and powerful colourful images, Rankin is also a director, producer, editor and publisher responsible for bringing to light emerging new talents to the fashion and media industry. He is co-founder of Dazed & Confused, an alternative style and culture magazine since 1991.
Furry Kate - Quiff, 2011
Eva in Green, 2010
Banana Split II, 2008 © Rankin
RYUDAI TAKANO b.1963
IBASHO Gallery Antwerpen
Takano's images are an invitation to a fantasy of intimacy with his subjects. He shows the boundary between homosexuality and heterosexuality as a fine line to cross placed in the ambiguous zone that lies between the binary notions of human sexuality, female and male.
#15 (ca.ra.ma.ru), 1996
#54 (ca.ra.ma.ru), 1996
#30 (ca.ra.ma.ru), 1996 © Ryudai Takano
CASPER FAASSEN b. 1975
Project 2.0 Gallery The Hague
Casper's particular style is a mix between painting and photography. Inspired by Rembrandt and other Dutch Golden Age painters, he creates a virtual space that blurs the distinction with reality and gives life to the subjects behind the surface of his prints.
Paerel Blanche, 2020
Prince I, 2020 © Casper Faassen
DELPHINE DIALLO b.1977
French - Senegalese
Boogie Wall Gallery London
Delphine Diallo is a challenging female artist projecting a rich and expanded inner world. She may be seeking to discover and liberate the group of women that she carries within her. Her portraits inspire me with a story of multiple female characters escaping from a contemporary African mythology book, venerating the beauty and power of female nature. Surreal.
The Awakening of Conception, 2021
Shiva, 2021 © Delphine Diallo
CHARLOTTE ABRAMOV b. 1993
Fish Eye Paris - London
Charlotte Abramov presents us with a new angle to approach the human body. A friendlier way to play and confidently enjoy its beauty without prejudice. She wants us to laugh and let our imaginations see it as a perfect landscape.
Les enveloppes : Guimauve, 2016 © Charlotte Abramov
DAVID DREBIN b. 1970
Camera Work Berlin
David Drebin is a well established commercial photographer. His images are entertaining, stimulating and seductive with a true sense of voyeurism. He also produces Lightboxes, Neon Light Installations, Sculptures and Etchings on glass. "Diamond Dust" is a collection of photographs that uses a special technique that adding glitter, during the printing process, produces a radiant and sparkling finish.
Below the Surface (Diamond Dust), 2021 © David Derbin
HSU CHING - YUAN b. 1956
Galerie Frédéric Moisan Paris
Hsu Ching: Yuan was born and raised in a fishing village in the Penghu Islands. He immigrated to the United States, perhaps pursuing the American Dream. He is now retired and in his homeland of Taiwan. His photographs are definitely a reflection of his life experience, his concerns about current environmental conditions and the impact of industrialisation on our planet.
The Statue of Liberty #084, 2020 © Hsu Ching - Yuan
FORMENTO & FORMENTO
American b. 1964 & British b. 1965
ARTITLED Contemporary Herpen
Richelle Formento and BJ Formento, stylist/art director and lighting/photographer, a duo of visual creatives with an uncanny and perverse cinematic style, Anastasia 1 is part of a collection that pays tribute to the female agents of World War II who were mostly abandoned in enemy territory, having to fend for themselves to survive. Cold, sarcastic and with sex appeal, good fun!
Anastasia 1 - Spies, Lies & Saboteurs, 2019 © Formento & Formento
James Hyman Gallery London
Heather Agyepong is a multidisciplinary artist, winner of the Photo London X Nikon Emerging Photographer Award 2021. Wish You Were Here is a collection commissioned by James Hyman Gallery with a prominent and satirical performance by African-American artist Aida Overton Walker. It is inspired by the presence of West Africa Princess Sarah Forbes at Queen Victoria's Court and by the postcards tradition of that time.
Wish You Were Here (1. Le Cake-Walk: Rob This England), 2020.
© Heather Agyepong
ALEXIS PESKINE b. 1979
October Gallery London
Alexis Peskine's portraits are breathtaking, with an enchanting composition and a very artistic way to express his concerns about the African diaspora.
Aljana Moons IV, 2015 © Alexis Peskine
SOPHIE MAYANNE b. 1993
The Association of Photographers London
Sophie Mayanne is a fashion and portrait photographer who launched the "Behind the Scars" series in 2017. She portrays the body as a diary written with scars that tells stories.
Zac + Rio, One Year Later, 2020 © Sophie Mayanne
CAROL ALLEN - STOREY
The Association of Photographers London
Carol Allen - Storey has been a UNICEF Ambassador Photographer since 2009. She is a photojournalist capable of capturing what I call 'the fractures of society'. In her own words,: "I think that photographs may not be capable of doing moral work for us, but they can trigger the process of social conscience."
GERTRUDE from RAPE IS A WEAPON OF WAR Series. © Carol Allen - Storey
GREGORI MAIOFIS b.1970
Shtager Gallery London
Maiofis is a classically trained printmaker and graphic artist.. We May Have Access to Dummies Only is from his latest collection MIXED REALITY. Shocking and disturbing, is an intellectual invitation to interact with his work.
We May Have Access to Dummies Only, 2019-2021. © Gregory Maiofis
Iconic Images London
Robin Platzer images of Studio 54 in New York are here to stay. They captured the euphoria and climax of the unforgettable Disco Era.
Halston, Bianca, Andy and Liza at STudio 54 on New Year's Eve, 1977 © Robin Platzer
T H E I C O N I C
M A S T E R S
GEORGE RODGER (1908 - 1995)
Iconic Images London
George Rodger was a self-taught photographer who worked as a war correspondent for many years. From WWII to the war in West Africa. Horrified and traumatised by what he witnessed, he abandoned the themes of war to travel the world and create images that have been exhibited all over the globe. He co-founded the Magnum agency with his friends Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Victor of the Korongo Nuba wrestlers. Kordofan, Southern Sudan, 1949.
© George Rodger Archives
NORMAN PARKINSON (1913 - 1990)
Iconic Images London
Parkinson is considered a revolutionary fashion and portrait photographer who turned London's streets and outdoor venues into his studio. A seven decades of reinvention and evolution made of him a real fashion 'influencer' of his time.
Wenda Parkinson wearing a tweed suit by Hardy Amies at Hyde Park Corner
© Norman Parkinson Archives
LEE MILLER (1907 - 1977)
Lee Miller Archives East Sussex
Lee Miller is perhaps the most notorious female photographer of the XX century. From modelling to photojournalism, from war correspondent to fashion photography. For her shocking style, she is credited with being the great inspiration to the legendary fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
Model wearing Digby Morton Suit, London, England, 1941 © Lee Miller Archives
LAWRENCE FRIED (1926 - 1983)
Iconic Images London
Lawrence Fried was a prominent photojournalist who holds in his portfolio emblematic moments of the XX century as numerous portraits of celebrities of his time. In addition, the distinction of having photographed the most Newsweek covers in the history of the magazine at the beginning of the 1970's.
Jacqueline Kennedy at the Golden Trumpet Ball in Boston on 24 September 1965.
© Lawrence Fried Archives
SEBASTIÃO SALGADO b. 1944
TASCHEN Milan, New York, London , Berlin . . .
Sebastião Salgado is simply an incredible photojournalist, giving all the strength of art to his documentary photographs. Graciously, he left his early career as an economist to completely engage in the art of photography. His portraits are powerful and charming and his landscapes a dream scenarios. With a unique style and special contrast on his images, he occupies an important place in contemporary photography.
Amazônia, Adão Yawanawá in a headdress of eagle feathers’, 2017