Photo London is back at Somerset House this May for its fifth instalment, with a special exhibition of new and unseen work by this year’s Master of Photography, Stephen Shore, plus Vivian Maier, Roger Fenton, Eamonn Doyle, almost 100 galleries from 21 different countries, and a giant egg sculpture.
Known for his pioneering use of colour photography, Shore’s newest body of work will be shown for the first time in the UK at the fair, as well as a series of 60 small photographs titled Los Angeles, taken through a single day in the city in 1969. “We are honoured to present Stephen Shore as our 2019 Master of Photography,” said Photo London’s founding directors Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad. “As his recent retrospective at MOMA (New York) admirably demonstrated, Stephen is a truly pioneering photographer who has consistently pushed the boundaries of image making throughout a long and successful career.”
Would you want Martin Parr to take your portrait? You might say its a brave soul who goes in front of his penetrating lens, but it’s part of a portfolio of benefits the Martin Parr Foundation is launching in its Membership Scheme.
Parr set up the Bristol-based Foundation in 2014 to house his archive, but in October 2017 it opened to the public in a purpose-built space, offering free access to much more – a rolling programme of exhibitions, a large photobook library, and a growing collection of prints. Parr’s used the opportunity to hone in on British and Irish photographers, as well as work taken in the British Isles by others, and put the focus on their documentary work – an area which he believes is still underrated.
As of 2019, Nadia Arroyo will be the new cultural director at Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid. She will be replacing Pablo Jiménez Burillo, who announced at a press meeting last week that he would be retiring after 30 years and over 500 curated exhibitions at the museum.
Jiménez was the first to bring a permanent exhibition space for photography to the museum, and championed the once-undervalued world of nineteenth century Spanish painting, bringing the gallery to the forefront of the art world in Spain. Arroyo is currently Head of Exhibitions at the Fundación MAPFRE.
Paris Photo is epic, but beyond the Grand Palais there’s a plethora of other photo-related events in the French capital. For those interested in photobooks there are two essential book fairs – Offprint and Polycopies, both showcasing some of the most interesting new work in photography and beyond; there is also a week-long photo focus at the world-famous Left Bank bookshop Shakespeare & Co.
Eamonn Doyle has photographed O’Connell Street, the longest thoroughfare in Dublin, for most of his life. But he needed Samuel Beckett to understand it. “I was obsessed with Beckett when I started taking these photos,” Doyle says of the Dublin-born novelist. “Beckett understands Dublin, but he strips away the context of his characters. I was deep in that mindset, so I started taking photographs that pares everything back.” The project started with a shot from behind; a solitary woman covered by an ornate head-scarf and powder-purple coat, shot close-up with her face hidden from view. Doyle realised then that street photography is possible from another angle. “The older face is such a loaded cliché in this sort of photography,” he says. “With Beckett’s writing, it’s not what said that’s intriguing, but what’s not. I wondered whether you can apply that to photography.” Although unknown in photography circles, Doyle is a bit of a local celebrity; the founder of the Dublin Electronic Arts Festival, he has run a recording studio and a couple of record labels …