Edward Burtynsky and a bigger Discoveries section at Photo London 2018

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“We’ve had five great extinctions,” says Edward Burtynsky. “Now our species is having a similar effect – we are the equivalent of a meteor impact.”

He’s currently working on a five-year project on the Anthropocene – the proposed name for our current geological age, an age on which human activity has had a profound and still ultimately unknown impact. A multidisciplinary initiative with long-term collaborators Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencie, Anthropocene includes images showing urbanisation, urbanisation, industrialisation and mining, from oil bunkering and sawmills in Nigeria to the salt mines of the Ural Mountains.

Now a preview of this project, plus other new work by the renown Canadian artist including an AR experience, is going on show at Photo London 2018, which takes place from 17-20 May at Somerset House. The public programme, which is supported by LUMA Foundation, will also include an exhibition called Exit from Paradise: Japanese & Chinese Contemporary Photography, presented by Korean curator Jiyoon Lee, and a photography-themed installation by set designer Es Devlin.

Unwavering Vision, 2017. Photograph by Alan Govenar, courtesy Documentary Arts and International Center of Photography

The International Center of Photography (ICP) and Photo London will present a new version of the installation Unwavering Vision, an interactive multimedia presentation by Alan Govenar, Jean-Michel Sanchez, and Julien Roger, which uses more than 5000 images on the subject of social change drawn from the ICP’s permanent collection.

Photo London has also joined forces with the dealer Hans P Kraus Jr to create the exhibition Sun Pictures Then and Now: Talbot and his Legacy Today, which includes work by William Henry Fox Talbot and by contemporary artists who draw on his legacy, including Cornelia Parker, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Vera Lutter. In addition, White Cube will present a special solo show by artist Darren Almond.

Loch Katrine, October 1844, by William Henry Fox Talbot,, courtesy Hans P. Kraus Jr., New York
Talbotized 012, 2013 © Hiroshi Sugimoto, courtesy the artist
Fox Talbot’s Articles of Glass (tagged decanters), 2017 © Cornelia Parker, 2018, courtesy Cornelia Parker and Alan Cristea Gallery, London

The talks programme, which is sponsored by Arts Council England, will include a presentation by Edward Burtynsky on 17 May, plus speakers such as Joel Meyerowitz, Cornelia Parker, Susan Lipper, Bruce Gilden, and Vera Lutter.

The 2018 Photo London fair will include 101 galleries from 18 different countries, and an expanded Discoveries section. This section, which was presented for the first time in 2017 and which is devoted to emerging artists and galleries, will include 22 organisations – including LhGWR (The Hague), Kana Kawanishi (Tokyo), Almanaque (Mexico City) and On Gallery (Beijing). As in 2017, the Discoveries section has been curated by Tristan Lund, director of Michael Hoppen Contemporary, London from 2010-2014.

Untitled from Portraits, 2011-ongoing © Hanna Putz, courtesy the artist

Photo London is presented in association with FT Weekend and lead-sponsored by Pictet Group, a Geneva-based asset and wealth management organisation. “We are delighted to be a lead sponsor of the Photo London fair for the third successive year,” said Stephen Barber, equity partner and head of communications at Pictet. “Since its launch in 2015, we have seen Photo London blossom into a fixture on the London cultural scene. Its reach and its reputation are equal with the best in global photography gatherings.”

“We are thrilled to present such a strong line-up of exhibitors and exhibitions for the fourth edition of Photo London. We are honoured to be able to present Edward Burtynsky as our 2018 Master of Photography,” said Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad, founding directors of Photo London. “Ed is one of the great image makers of our times and a great champion of photography and sustainability and so it is particularly fitting that we celebrate his work in the same year that another great project, the Prix Pictet – the world’s leading award for photography and sustainability – celebrates is tenth anniversary.

“Photo London has established itself as a world-class photography fair and as a catalyst for London’s dynamic photography community, and we’re pleased to see its continued growth year on year. The 2018 edition of Photo London is set to be the biggest ever and we look forward to showcasing the very best of the past, present and future of photography for our visitors to Somerset House in May.”

Photo London 2018 takes place from 17-20 May 2018, with a preview on 16 May, at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA. Tickets are on sale now via photolondon.org

Study from ‘The Mechanism of Human Facial Expression’ 18’
1856-57 by Duchenne de Boulogne, courtesy Robert Hershkowitz
Mermaid Dress: Lisa Fonssagrives in Rochas, Paris Collections, Vogue, 1950 by Irving Penn, courtesy Staley-Wise Gallery, New York
Parking, 1950s, Saul Leiter, courtesy Saul Leiter Estate
Trump selfie with selfiestick with Miss Kenya, Miss Syria, Miss Mexico, 2016 © Alison Jackson, courtesy Raffaella De Chirico
Our Life in the Shadows: Contained (Self-Portrait), 2016. Almanaque, Mexico City © Tania Franco-Klein
Nimbus WLA, 2017 © Berndnaut Smilde, courtesy Ronchini
Forest 7, 2017 © Sandra Kantanen, courtesy of Sandra Kantanen @ Purdy Hicks Gallery
Eden III, 2017 © Ysabel LeMay, courtesy the artist and Catherine Edelman Gallery
Flux Harpsichord Concert, 2017 © Elina Brothers, courtesy of the artist and camera oscura galeria de arte, Madrid
Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy