30 May 2015

PhotoLondon at Somerset House

Rather than trying to second-guess London's weather antics (seriously, what's going on?), my friend and I decided to play it safe last weekend and take shelter at PhotoLondon at Somerset House.

Anyone else spotted the lop-sided lamp post? Is it meant to be like that? It amused me no end...

Go home lamp post, you're drunk

If you're feeling flush, PhotoLondon is the chance to get your freshly-manicured hands on a prime piece of photography. Prices range from under £1,000 to hundreds and thousands of pounds. 

If, like us, you struggle to find enough silvers in your purse to buy a small Americano, PhotoLondon is choc-ful of varied, wonderful photos to admire. And if you know me, I love to admire beautiful things.

Somerset House is always a joy to behold, so we made the most of the grand entrance, and I simply had to take a picture of the fancy cars. When in Rome, and all that.

I have no idea why they were there (perhaps they belonged to a VIP guest, or an international art dealer?), but they were pretty, and that's reason enough.

We had a VIP pass, which basically meant we could access every single gallery (each room was occupied by a different photographer or two), but it was slightly lost on us because we didn't get any freebies! Although my friend did manage to blag us a tote each. And everyone loves a free tote.

Tokyo Parrots by Yoshinori Mizutani

You'll have to forgive me for the quality of the pictures - the lighting and reflections are a bit annoying, but I hope you can still appreciate the photography!

I really liked the above by Mizutani; the parrots looked like they had been painted on, and I loved the flashes of yellow and gold against the blue and indigo. It also reminded me of that Pixar short movie before Monsters Inc (showing my age, here) "For the Birds", where they were all mean to the squawky, awkward bird.


We wandered through the numerous rooms, getting lost and looping back on ourselves a bit, and then ogling people with Chanel bags and promising ourselves that ONE DAY that would be us.

One guy seemed to be negotiating a purchase, and we ooh-ed and ahh-ed not-so-subtly as the photographer flicked through his pieces (they were all gorgeous) and the buyer just kept saying "They're all great!" Check out the glove. You know it's worth something when there's a glove involved.

Some of my personal highlights below...

Blogger cliché - Sakura Cherry Blossom

A patchwork/layered piece of iconic Piccadilly Cicus

A dark but wonderful over-sized mobile

Work by Anja Niemi

My favourite photographer by far, and incidentally, one of the first rooms we came across, was by Stephen Wilkes. He's an American photographer, known for his work "Day to Night". His pieces were so beautiful I could hardly bear to tear myself away from them.

Each piece comprises of 50 or so separate images, taken over up to 26 hours, which are then fused together to create an incredible panorama. None of the people in the image have been photoshopped, and the detail is unbelievable. In one of the images there's a man in the very corner, no more than 2 centimetres in height, in the dark, and you can make out what's he's drinking. Very impressive.

I shamelessly asked Stephen for a picture with one of his pieces, and he kindly complied. He was so sweet!

Stephen Wilkes with his work

He also showed us a piece he was working on from his iPad, of a scene in Africa (also day to night) where after a long draught, all the animals came to the watering haul en masse and shared the source. It was great to see that his talents extend past infamous cityscapes, and I'll definitely keep an eye on him and his amazing work.

All photography-ed out, we mooched outside to the VIP marquee (thank goodness it was undercover, because at this point it was raining - thanks, London), had a cocktail, and enjoyed a mini debrief on the glamorous art world.

A surprisingly strong Mango Daiquiri

*I was a plus one VIP on behalf of PhotoLondon

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