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  • Photo courtesy of Photo London

  • Photo courtesy of Photo London

  • Tribute to Julius LeBlanc Stewart ©Nicolas-Dhervillers & School Gallery

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Inside Photo London 2015

Photo London, the city’s most important photography fair, came back last weekend after a long absence of eight years, taking over the iconic Somerset House. The fair brought together more than 70 international galleries, showcasing the best of vintage and contemporary photography. This year, Photo London’s programme included various exhibitions, installations, performances and live events that attracted collectors, connoisseurs, artists and gallerists from all over the world.

Among the highlights was “Beneath the Surface”, an exhibition dedicated to V&A’s vast photography collection that dates back to 1852, gathering 200 works focusing on themes like water, the topography of the city and the people within it. The majority of the featured images, which were chosen by Martin Barnes, V&A’s Senior Curator of Photograpahs, were previously unseen of rarely-displayed, adding an extra allure to the exhibition that will remain on view until August 24, 2015, in Embankment Galleries East.

Another highlight was “Genesis and Platinum”, a solo show by famous Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, featuring large-format prints of landscapes, seascapes, animals and people. The extraordinary exhibition documented the photographer’s 32 journeys during eight years to remote corners of the planet, in his attempt to portray the world’s fragile beauty that we all have a duty to preserve and protect —from the tropical rainforest to the Antarctic glaciers. A solo show by late Iranian documentary photographer Kaveh Golestan, titled “Prostitue”, also caused a great impression, being a unique testimony of Tehran’s former red light district, a ghetto where 1,500 women lived and worked until 1979, before it was set on fire and demolished after the Iranian revolution.

Last, but not least, two site specific installations brought a different touch to the fair: “Cities” by Sohei Nishino, a big collage of London divided into 1,000 different prints, and “The Teaser” by Rut Blees Luxemburg, comprising 10 lightbox cubes and 10 framed lights the revealed an urban love story, with a text by philosopher Alexander García Düttmann. Photo London was also accompanied by an interesting talks and lectures programme curated by Professor Francis Hodgson, featuring artists and historians of the likes of Don McCullin, Susan Derges, William A. Ewing, Mitch Epstein, Simon Schama, Rankin and Stephen Shore.