Photo London is all about seeing and being seen
First of all, how are you getting a ticket? So far I have only met two people in my whole existence that have paid the price of £32 per standard day. In my case I was lucky enough this year to be invited by Patricia Conde Gallery booth G20 at the Pavilion, super close to the Champagne bar, as one of their VIP guests: lucky me.
I made my way in on Thursday eve for the first day of the fair and went straight to the talk Our Land with artists Babak Kazemi, Pargol E. Naloo and Tahmineh Monzavi discussing their work and how it is connected to their home country of Iran, moderated by curator Vali Mahlouji. It was a great way to kick off the fair, Babak and Pargol E. are a power couple that works on the subjects of landscape, environment and politics. Accompanied by Tahmineh Monzav who covers women’s issues, trans rights and migration. I found Tahmineh’s work Brides of Mokhber al-Dowleh super interesting, where she documents how the bridal industry in Iran is dominated by male makers and stylists.
With no champagne being offered I stopped by my host booth and spent an hour or so just chatting with Patricia Conde, her husband Jose Antonio Martinez and Mariana Gómez Maqueo about the Mexican photo landscape and the alternative exhibition they had at F04 Fotografía Maroma: a living gallery of Mexican Photography commissioned by Belmond and co-curated by Photo London’s co-founder Fariba Farshad and Patricia Conde.
Making my way through the fair that day I bumped into Edmund Clark who was showing work at Flowers Booth G25. He was my tutor at LCC during my MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. Then I saw Laura Noble, an independent curator chatting to Anthony Luvera whose work I am low-key obsessed with so I went over and said hello, like the strong independent woman I am.
I reunited with my colleague and fellow photographers Quetzal Maucci and Rebecca Binda and travelled to what we think is the most interesting part of the fair, the Discovery Section, dedicated to the most exciting emerging galleries and artists. In there you could find the Photo London x Hahnemühle student award, and the LensCulture Exposure Awards (where my colleague Jacob Black was exhibiting), which was next to Martin Paar: Recent Works. That’s where we bumped into Ilán Rabchinskey who was showing with Patricia Conde Galeria, a fellow Mexican artist so naturally, we went and had pizza together.
I came back Saturday morning to see a talk with my idol Mark Sealy OBE in conversation with Iranian‐British artist and filmmaker Mitra Tabrizian, hosted at PrixPictet/Autograph. That morning I was accompanied by another artist Edwin Mingard who asked Mitra the link between theory and making art to which she replied that we should never allow the theory to take over our instincts and intuition when making, mind blown. Then I spoke to Clara Bertrand, New Media Manager at Pictet Group, who my friend Jenny The Nomad recommended I should introduce myself to, so I did.
Edwin and I, finally with champagne in hand, made our way to the Ian Parry Photojournalism Grant booth P02 where turns out Edwin knew Carol Allen Storey who is part of the advisory committee, so we spent a good amount of time chatting with her about Edwin and Carol’s hair (bleached with green and pink undertones and Carol is a bright redhead) and the work of the winners since 1991. We also spoke to Rebecca McClelland Creative Director & Curator of the Ian Parry Scholarship while acquiring a copy of their book.
Together we head back to see Writing Her Own Script by the Centre for British Photography, hosting images by Juno Calypso, Jo Spence, Rosy Martin (which I saw in person at the fair, but did not say hello to), Maisie Cousins (Maisie also had a pink carpet AI photography – solo show at TJ Boulting booth E13, tried to speak to Hannah Watson but she was busy making moves) and Sarah Maple showing my favourite photo of all Photo London Votes for Women.
Finally, on my own, I went to Eleven Crane-Kalman booth G11 because Mara Bodis-Wollner, who works at Millennium alongside myself, said she saw Ali G so that had to be confirmed. And stopped again at Patricia Conde Galeria who was showing Adam Wiseman (Millennium Images contributor) Graciela Iturbide, Yael Martinez, Ilán Rabchinskey, Oswaldo Ruiz, Alejandro Cartagena and Flor Garduño, to say goodbye. At the booth, we came across Alys Tomilson who I introduced to the Patricia Conde Gallery team and saw together Yael Martinez’s photo book.
Overall I spent around 10 hrs at the fair being amused by seeing a Nobuyoshi Araki or an original Polaroid lift by Rhiannon Adam, and gathering the strength to be seen and say hello to all the other amazing creatives that visit Photo London each year. Will defo visit again in 2024.
By Ana Blumenkron