It may be too early to predict whether the Autumn art season will take place at all, however, Photo London has announced that they are relocating their highly anticipated fair to Gray’s Inn Gardens for a new Frieze Week Autumn time-slot (7–11 October with a preview on the evening of 6 October). This move away from Somerset House is likely because it would clash with The African Art Fair already booked for the October dates. Photo London usually takes place the third week in May but was postponed due to the COVID19 epidemic.
Gray’s Inn Gardens is a historical site and one of the largest privately owned gardens in London. The Gardens are located close to Holborn Station and just a short journey from Somerset House and Frieze Art Fair, which will take place that same week in October.
The fair hopes to return to Somerset House in 2021 and has decided to move its sixth edition to a new venue in agreement with the arts centre, which sadly is hosting another event that week. was driven by the determination to find an equally iconic and well-placed location that would also allow staging a large-scale event in a controlled and safe way. The new site will see the Fair located on one level with a single entrance and exit. Thanks to this tightly monitored access, Photo London will take place safely, in respect of social distancing rules imposed by the government in response to the current global pandemic.
Michael Benson & Fariba Farshad, Founders of Photo London, commented: “When earlier this year, we took the inevitable decision to reschedule Photo London, we set ourselves the goal of delivering an alternative plan for this year’s Fair no later than mid-May.
This has not been an easy task. However, we felt very strongly that we owed it to our exhibitors and the artists who have supported us over the past five years to try to find the best possible solution. So, with cautious optimism, we are delighted to be able to report that the sixth edition of Photo London. Gray’s Inn Gardens, a private venue will allow PL to achieve a far higher level of social distancing than would normally be possible. We are incredibly grateful to the Mayor of London’s Office and the team at Somerset House who have been instrumental in helping us secure this outstanding new location.
Throughout this process, we have consulted widely with art world professionals and a host of other advisers. The message that kept coming back through these discussions is that, while no one is under any illusion about the challenges we face, we should hold fast to the idea of staging a Fair as soon as it could take place safely and successfully. From this point of view, it is encouraging to see auction houses, galleries and museums across Europe making their first tentative preparations for a resumption of activities.”
Timothy Persons, founder and co-director of Persons Projects / Helsinki School, Berlin, commented: “Persons Projects/ Helsinki School is overwhelmed by the new opportunity Photo London now offers us with its new date, place and chance to be one of the first fairs to realistically welcome in the autumn season.”
Mirjam Cavegn, Founder of BILDHALLE, Zurich, commented: “Photo London is an important fair for us. We love the atmosphere, the quality of exhibitors and the team of the fair. No matter where and when the fair takes place, we will be there. We are so happy to be back in business and meet collectors on an international platform that we do not shy away from any effort. Let’s move forward and share our treasures with an international group of photography lovers.”
Photo London remains committed to celebrating the work of this year’s Master of Photography, Shirin Neshat, with a dedicated exhibition that will open during the week of the Fair and will run for three weeks.
While the Photo London team looks forward to a safe and strong 2020 edition in October, it has in the meantime pushed forward the launch of the Photo London Academy, with the support of Arts Council England. This free online resource acts as a virtual gateway into the lives of photographers around the world via different elements:
The Talks Archive, which gives access to the video recordings of the world-class panels and talks held at Photo London over the past five years, including conversations with Sebastiao Salgado, Hannah Starkey, Don McCullin, Liz Johnson Artur, Stephen Shore, Susan Meiselas, Vera Lutter, Miles Aldridge, Mary McCartney, Erik Madigan Heck and Juergen Teller. New talks are published daily, Monday to Friday.
Photo London’s recently launched digital magazine. Each issue is built in the spirit of an artist’s photo book and spotlights the creative processes and artworks of our selected guest contributors. The magazine focuses on personal anecdotes, stories and behind-the-scenes materials, typically those unseen on the main stage of physical art fairs and exhibitions. Issue 01 focuses on the 2018 Master of Photography, Edward Burtynsky. Following issues will be dedicated to leading UK conceptual photographer Clare Strand, Professor Sarah Kenderdine, a renowned expert in experimental museology, as well as the 2020 Master of Photography, Shirin Neshat.
Photo London brings the finest international photography to the British capital every May. Set amongst the spectacular neoclassical architecture of Somerset House – where the term ‘photography’ was first coined in 1839 – the Fair presents the best historic and vintage works while also spotlighting fresh perspectives in photography. Along with a selection of the world’s leading photography dealers and galleries showing at the Fair, Photo London’s Discovery section is dedicated to the most exciting emerging galleries and artists. In addition, each edition sees a unique Public Programme including special exhibitions and installations; a Talks Programme curated by William A. Ewing, former Director of the Musée de l’Elysée, and former Director of Exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, New York; and several Awards announced, headlined by the Photo London Master of Photography Award.
Photo London Gray’s Inn Gardens 7–11 October with a preview on the evening of 6 October