Photo London '23 Review

Photo London '23 Review

Somerset House
10th - 14th May

A.Bliss was delighted to be involved with Photo London 2023. This year, we worked on frames for Messums and the mounting for Martin Parr. Parr was awarded the Master of Photography and his expansive exhibition took over much of the Discovery Rooms in the basement of Somerset House. Acting as kind of retrospective, it begins with his black and white images of the Chinese communities in London and ends with a large-scale collage of his most recent sea-side pictures.  

On the other side of the Discovery Rooms, was ‘Writing Her Own Script: Woman Photographers from the Hymen Collection.’ This celebrates many of the pioneering women photographers working in the UK between the 1930s to the present day. Self-portraiture and a reclamation of the female body was a prominent theme, such as in the work of Polly Penrose, who metamorphoses her flesh like clay: distorting it with poses, objects, and camera angles. She subverts the sexualisation of the body by beheading her subjects, presenting female flesh as malleable and sculptural.  

In the main pavilion, there were a number of particularly striking works. Fisheye Gallery presented a series of large-scale pieces by Zhong Weixing. These tall, life-size photographs of figures hint to themes of colonialisation, ritual and mythmaking. The matte glicee prints on Hahnemühle paper along with black box tray frames highlighted the theatrical, high-contrast and densely coloured pieces. Another quieter favourite was the collaged silver gelatine prints by Margaret Lansink for Gallerie XII, exploring the intersection between the body and landscape, drawing and photography.  

In the West Wing, Justine Tjalink’s work stood out in Galerie Sophie Scheidecker’s stall. Again, another demonstration of high-contrast, richly toned portraiture, these pieces had a Renaissance edge, calling back to Dutch portraiture of the 16th Century with a celebration of rich cloth, expressive hats and dramatic chiaroscuro. Messum’s stall was also in the West Wing, featuring the ariel landscapes of Jeffrey Milstein. A.Bliss framed these prints in a simple, white painted tulip box frame with artglass, allowing the vibrant colours of Milstein’s work to take centre stage.  

Another excellent representation of the variety of photography being celebrated in the contemporary art market.  

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