Somerset House is set to host an international photography fair and exhibition in May, produced by curating consultancy Candlestar.
Photo London will feature a selection of works by 65-70 galleries worldwide, handpicked by a curatorial panel of seven established curators and directors.
Alongside the fair, there will be talks, screenings and events, supported by the non-profit arts organisation LUMA Foundation. “There will be a lively public programme of installations in the courtyard, an exhibition of unseen gems from the V&A museum’s photography collection, and a music and photography programme, featuring musicians sharing photography that’s important to them,” says Michael Benson, director at Candlestar.
The chosen participating galleries will be announced on 5 February. “The panel are looking for new artists, or new works by established artists, rather than work already seen at other art fairs,” Benson says. “Our brief is that it should be a unique exhibition, and the work should be artistically sensible – the curators are looking for artistic quality, things they haven’t seen before and work that has commercial impact.”
The curatorial committee consists of: William Ewing (photography curator and writer), Tobia Bezzola (director of the Museum Folkwang), Maryam Eisler (editor of art book Sanctuary: Britain’s Artists and their Studios), Wendy Watriss (founder of FotoFest), François Hebel (previous director of Les Rencontres d’Arles), Sebastien Montabonel (former photography specialist at Phillips auction house) and Sofia de Maduro (curator and collector).
A “Discovery” section of the fair will feature newly founded galleries, and an award sponsored by the John Kobal Foundation will be given to the most outstanding emerging photographer, offering a two-month residency in New York.
The photography fair will be showcasing international work from Europe and America, but also Asian countries such as Japan and India. “We’ve always felt that London really needed its own photography fair, like New York and Paris,” Benson says. “The aim is to showcase the very best photography by established and younger galleries, and from both established and unseen artists. It’s a fair for major players in the field of photography across the world.”
Candlestar, which is now based in Somerset House, develops and curates art and education projects, and specialises in photography initiatives. It has curated over 50 exhibitions worldwide in the last five years, and helped to create the Prix Pictet photography award and exhibition.
Photo London will take place 21 – 24 May 2015 at Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA.