London Festival of Photography - events and exhibitions show city in pictures

16:53 08 June 2012

Steve Bloom shows a set of images from Apartheid-era South Africa

Steve Bloom shows a set of images from Apartheid-era South Africa

(c) Steve Bloom / stevebloom.com

The London Festival of Photography has returned for its second year and is taking place throughout June with a focus in King's Cross, Bloomsbury, Euston and Fitzrovia.

Encompassing street, documentary and conceptual photography, the festival - which runs until June 24 - includes 18 exhibitions and 30 satellite events including workshops, talks and screenings.

The festival is dedicated to showcasing the best of contemporary and historic visual storytelling, encouraging dialogue about a wide variety of current social and political issues, and establishing a platform for photographic practice and learning.

The shows vary in style and format, presenting a comprehensive mixture of disciplines with work from both established and emerging photographers.

I started the multi-event crawling on the opening night at the Guardian Gallery in King's Place, that shows a set of classical images from Apartheid-era South Africa by one its most renowned practitioners, Steve Bloom.

His work spans more than 20 years of the tensest period of the Rainbow Nation's history, during the social conflict that eventually led to the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of the racist regime.

I moved on to the more intimate surroundings of Minnie Weisz Studio on Pancras Road, where Ms Weisz explores the identity of spaces, particularly buildings on the brink of change, such as the Great Northern Hotel, or the Fish & Coal Offices in King's Cross.

She investigates the context and social history of these sites, which worm their way into the photographic process. Although persons are sometimes introduced in her pictures, she tends to leave them out, using installations of found objects – a suitcase, shoes, and an old pair of roller skates - to author fictional memories of a building's past.

Just across the road, I ventured into the cosmopolitan milieu of the St Pancras International station, where the area around the Source Food facilities is inhabited by a great display of images portraying the Great British Public.

This multi-disciplinary show celebrates the extremes and quirks of life on our islands - from military funeral parades to centenarians; from pomp and pageantry to cottage industries, from Hackney in London to the most northernmost island of Orkney in Scotland, via New Brighton, the Black Country and beyond.

The artists include John Angerson, Nick Cunard, Peter Dench, Liz Hingley, Zed Nelson, Martin Parr, Ben Roberts, Simon Roberts, Arnhel de Serra, Chris Steele-Perkins, Ewen Spencer, Homer Sykes and Giulietta Verdon-Roe.

I strolled on to King's Cross station to peruse the Contemporary London Street Photography exhibition.

No art form captures city life quite like street photography, and this exhibition is a celebration of both the timeless nature and distinctive quirkiness of the Big Smoke through photographs.

A large-scale wall display, housed in the newly-refurbished King's Cross station, presents Londoners at play and at work through carefully chosen images from some of the UK’s top street photographers. Contributors include Gary Alexander, Damian Chrobak, George Georgiou and Zbigniew Osiowy.

And then to the street party and official opening at the Dog Eared Gallery, with a more comprehensive set of the Great British Public, of which my favourite is the insightful study of centenarians by noted photographer Chris Steele-Perkins.

The number of people over 100 in the UK is set to double by 2020. So what’s it like to reach that age? The answer is an intimate and compassionate portrayal of elderly people, with inspiring stories to compliment the well-edited set of pictures.

See more details of the London Festival of Photography

Reviewed by Julio Etchart - www.julioetchart.com

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Can the Earth even cope with 12 billion people by 2100?

Read more

Holly Willoughby had a tearful farewell as she bowed out of ITV’s This Morning to head off on leave awaiting the birth of her third child.

Read more

The Royal and Ancient will finally be allowing female members.

Read more

Top Stories

Promotions

Imagine having your own idyllic house in the French countryside - and make it happen! [Photograph by Mike Simler]

Ever dreamed of living in a rural cottage in France with ivy round the door, chickens in your garden, and fresh croissants for breakfast from the local patisserie a short walk away in the nearby village?

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

Quizzes

(Photo by Ben Horton/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds Hollywood)

If there’s one thing that can change Londoners from nice, normal people into superhumans capable of extreme levels of rage and passive aggression, it’s the descent below-ground.

Read more
Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more
Do you know your Thames truths from the porkie pies? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

So, you live (or work) in London, and you think you know the river well.

Read more