London’s most prestigious photography fair took over Somerset House last week for a four-day immersion in the creative vision of over a hundred international photographers. These were our favourite bits
Inaugurated on May 11 with a private press preview, the event kicked off with a talk by this year’s Master of Photography, the pioneering British photographer Nick Knight, followed by an introduction by Fiammetta Horvat to the homage she has curated to her father, the revolutionary fashion photographer Frank Horvat, and a tour of the exhibition by Photo London founders Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad.
Reflecting upon his win as well as Nick Knight: Future, Knight’s Photo London-powered solo show retracing the rise of his photographic genius from the ‘80s until today, he said: “From politics to AI, I have been able to use the voice that photography gave me to present a vision of our future and find new ways of seeing the world.”
“It’s a great honour to be given this award,” he added. “I would like to use this occasion to demonstrate my enthusiasm for the future of image-making, and how incredibly important it is to realise it’s our purpose to show the world not just who we are but also who we want to be.”
When it came to presenting the homage to the late fashion photography game-changer Frank Horvat, his daughter stressed how — despite having travelled across the globe — London always maintained its special place in the memory of her father, who had relocated to the British capital in the late 1950s after years spent between Pakistan and India. Focusing on Horvat’s fashion work for leading magazines and images depicting the Parisienne nightlife back in the days, the exhibition highlights the photographer’s ability to transcend time by constantly reinventing his craft through the use of new technologies.
Whether artistically or realistically speaking, the 2022 edition of Photo London was characterised by an inspiring dialogue between what once was and what is yet to come. As Benson and Farshad explained, “Photo London’s mission has always been to show the best of the past, present and future of photography.”
“This edition is no exception, presenting exhibitors and artists whose work not only delights and surprises, but also challenges assumptions about what photography can be,” they added. “Invention is at the core of photography’s DNA and with it the ability to reach beyond its own moment.”
To offer you a glimpse into the visionary world of the photographers part of this year’s Photo London, we have curated a selection of our favourite image-makers on display — featuring newcomers and established photographers alike. Discover more below.
Max Miechowski, 2022 Photo London x Nikon Emerging Photographer of the Year
British photographer Max Miechowski only got his first camera aged 25, yet it didn’t take him long to have his name noticed by the international photo community. After initially pursuing a career in music, he quit his job to travel across Southeast Asia alongside some friends. It is on this journey that Miechowski discovers his love for photography: “I saw it as an opportunity to explore new places and meet interesting people,” he tells Re-Edition, adding that he hasn’t stopped taking pictures since. Having cut short his BA at Leeds College of Art to move to London and work as a photographer, Miechowski started documenting his neighbourhood in what became Burgess Park — the series thanks to which he was included in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery. From there, his career took off, allowing him to land exciting collaborations and work on new personal projects, including his celebrated A Big Fat Sky.
Since the early days of his photographic practice, Miechowski has always been concerned with community and connection; two concepts that inform even the latest of his visual stories, Land Loss, for which he won this year’s Photo London x Nikon Emerging Photographer Award. Set against the raw beauty of the UK’s East Coast — the fastest eroding coastline in Europe — the series documents the morphological changes affecting the landscape of different coastal towns while also offering a glimpse into the lives of those who inhabit them.
“I began taking trips out to the cliffs and photographing them as they changed and slowly disappeared,” Miechowski says. “It was hard to imagine that, in a few years time, a lot of these landscapes would be unrecognisable or gone completely. It felt important to lens them, to try and preserve them somehow.” At once beautiful and unsettling, Land Loss also depicts the unique bond linking nature and the people that live in the East Coast of England. Speaking about those he met while developing the series, he explains that they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else: “Time seems to move differently there,” he says. “To have this endless view across the sea, and to watch it slowly edge closer, is hypnotic. We’re as temporary as the cliffs.”
Nana Yaw Oduro, People’s Choice Winner
Picked by the public among the names featured in the 2022 Photo London x Nikon Emerging Photographer of the Year shortlist, Ghanaian photographer Nana Yaw Oduro graced the attendees of this year’s fair with his sun-lit, cinematic shots inspired by themes such as boyhood, masculinity, acceptance, and self-awareness. The Accra-born visual storyteller knows how to transport you into a different dimension and does so by playing with his subjects’ poses as well as by accentuating colours, lights and shadows. Through his abstract, minimalistic portraiture, he doesn’t just absorb the attention of the viewer but also leaves them craving for more of his superbly composed, beautiful images.
Pablo Ortiz Monasterio
Mexican photographer Pablo Ortiz Monasterio tells stories through his lens like no others. The founder of the National Museum of Photography of Mexico, Monasterio was born in Mexico City in 1952. One of the most influential artists on the Mexican contemporary photography scene, his work has been exhibited in some of the most prestigious art institutions, from MoMA and Center Pompidou to the Victoria & Albert Museum. A 1970s graduate of the London College of Printing, Monasterio went back to Mexico a decade later and has since then dedicated himself to documenting the diverse realities of Mexican culture and society — including that of indigenous people — to preserve its heritage through time. Vivid and unfiltered, his work speaks of a distant humanity, exploring politics, religion, and identity so poignantly that it is impossible not to feel touched by it.