Photo London 2019


Once a year, Somerset House in London opens its doors to a magnificent exhibition of photographers from the past and present. It is literally overwhelming and I could spend several days wandering around the many rooms and corridors. With over 100 of the world’s leading galleries, featuring artists ranging from established masters to rising stars, it is really worth visiting.

On my way to Somerset House, I passed a statue that (almost!) caught my eye at John Carpenter Street, Blackfriars. This bronze statue is called ‘Taxi’ which was cast in 1983 by J. Seward Johnson Jr. - an American sculptor. This statue was formerly sited on Park Avenue and 47th Street in New York before being moved to London. I took the first 2 photos below and the third I found on Flickr, and is when it was sited in Manhattan .Photographer Andy Sutcliffe (ho_hokus) kindly allowed me to incude it here.

Below are direct links to just a small selection of photographs that were on display. Each link will open a new window, so please close each one to return to this page. But you really have to see these prints at full scale to fully appreciate them. I have posted links of published photos, so as to respect the copyright and promotion of the artist.

Woman Behind Glass by Clair Aho A Finnish photographer who died in 2015 aged 90. This photo was taken in 1958 and shows a lady leaning on the other side of a reenforced (wire) glass door. The colours and lighting are amazing. The contrast between the soft imagery with the hard push of texture against the glass make this a great image to see. Especially in a large print format.

The children, the bear and the fridge another by Clair Aho of a 1950 scene where the mint green wall colours create a colour cast over the children’s skin tones and even the fridge. I would expect some photographers of the modern digital era would have seen this as a flaw and removed this colour cast, but when you see this in full scale you realise this is actually essential for retaining the 1950s atmosphere of this scene.

Dance TenTime Rosie by Rankin One of my favourite photographers of our era. My friend and I stood and debated the composition of this image. Some might judge that the space should be in front of the subject, providing a vacuum for her to move into. But Rankin chose to place the space behind her, depicting a sense of movement. The talcum powder and finger bandages are the difference between ordinary and Rankin.

Midnight Modern. Shot using only the light of the full moon, Tom Blanchord had a series of prints taken at Palm Springs. You have to see these at large scale to fully appreciate the detail and atmosphere..

Amy Winehouse by Bryan Adams That is Bryan Adams the Canadian singer/songwriter; a photographer in his own right. Like photographers Scarlet Page (daughter of Jimmy) , Mary McCartney (daughter of Paul) it could be said that they have easier access to such stars, but then the expectation is high; and therefore they all have to deliver great work, and they do.

Beatles boots, Liverpool by George Rodger 1964 it’s all about the angle, plus a capture of an iconic era in British Music.

Alan Barnes