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Hrair Sarkissian’s "Last Seen"
CREDIT: Sean Goodhart ARPS

Contemporary imagery at The Photographers' Gallery

I had a gallery visiting day in London yesterday, four venues, seven exhibitions. Here's some thoughts about one of the visits.

There's a lot of interesting contemporary photography currently on show at The Photographers' Gallery in London. The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2024 shortlisted entries are on display until 2nd June 2024, featuring VALIE EXPORT, Gauri Gill & Rajesh Vangad, Lebohang Kganye and Hrair Sarkissian. I'll not spoil the fun by giving too much away (or posting lots of my snapshots), but I'll just highlight a few that caught my eye from three of the four artists.


Gauri Gill / Rajesh Vangad -
CREDIT: Sean Goodhart ARPS

Hrair Sarkissian’s "Last Seen" is a very moving piece, with each image representing a person who disappeared during political conflicts in Argentina, Brazil, Bosnia, Kosovo and Lebanon. The sequence shows the place where the missing person was last seen by their families.

Gauri Gill has collaborated with painter Rajesh Vangad to explore hidden layers that exist beneath the surface of a photograph. Together they've found an interesting way of reinforcing the "about" of the images on show.

Lebohang Kganye
CREDIT: Sean Goodhart ARPS

Lebohang Kganye’s photographic project combines sculpture with her images and words show us something of the complexity of the South African experience. Using life-size cut-outs of pictures is definitely a strong way of presenting the imagery. (I wonder what might happen if I turned up with something similar for an RPS distinction!)

The work of VALIE EXPORT (her capitals for this pseudo name) is deliberately shocking. I'd not heard of her until yesterday when I learned she was active since the late 1960s and was known for her radical performances and examination of women’s role in society and the arts. I've not put an image with this blog, it'll spoil the surprise.


Bert Hardy exhibition
CREDIT: Sean Goodhart ARPS

In addition to the Deutsche Börse Prize exhibition we can see an exhibition "Bert Hardy: Photojournalism in War and Peace", again until 2nd June. Hardy was an influential English press and documentary photographer known for his work for Picture Post magazine, the exhibition showed me he was also a combat photographer and a successful advertising photographer during his career.

The exhibition includes photographs the Blitz in London, the Normandy D-Day landings in June 1944, the allied advance across the Rhine and the liberation of Bergen-Belsen plus wars in Southeast Asia. Hardy’s extensive social documentary work in mid 20th century Britain (as often seen in Picture Post) is well covered. We also get to learn something about his process in the exhibition - with some of his excellent work on photomontage explained.

If like me you enjoy Café Royal Books, an independent publisher dedicated to post-war photography from Britain and Ireland, you'll probably spend an hour in the reading room - there are many of the CRB "Zines" available to thumb through.

Don't forget to look up when outside (or sitting in the cafe window) and view Siân Davey's "The Garden".