PHOTO LONDON 2023: 11 - 14 May 2023, Somerset House

29 April - 28 May 2023

We look forward to seeing you at Photo London 2023 where we will be exhibiting work by Takashi Arai, Celine Bodin, Susan Derges, Samuel Fosso, Leila Jeffreys, 
Linkersdorff, Edgar Martins, Jorma Puranen and Bettina von Zwehl. 


Stand G16


    Born 1978, Kawasaki, Japan

    Takashi Arai has made the daguerreotype his own personal medium, finding it a reliable device for storing memory and interactions with his subjects. Beginning in 2002, Arai taught himself everything he could about daguerreotypes, using among other sources the original manuals written by Louis Daguerre. Mastering this complex and laborious process, he uses a 19th Century lens and hand polishes each individual silver plate to allow the ideal reflective polished surface. The reflective quality of the daguerreotype plate is essential to its magic. Called, "the magic mirror," a well-made plate has the unique quality of implicating the viewer in the frame. This mirroring of the ghostly silver plates allows the viewer to become completely enmeshed within the worlds depicted. Using variable exposure times (several seconds to fifteen minutes), the artist's involvement is felt in each plate's subtle imperfections and physical markings, as in the unearthly blue glow evident on some plates.


    In his Daily D-type series, Takashi Arai creates one daguerreotype a day, capturing everyday moments and objects. The works are precious yet simple, recorded memories and daily realities. Long concerned by nuclear issues, has led Arai to photograph the deeply interconnected subjects of Fukushima, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, including the making of individual portraits of Hibakusha - people affected by the 1945 atomic bombings.


    Arai's work has appeared in numerous exhibitions including in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Mori Art Museum, and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. In 2016, he received the 41st Kimura Ihei Award for his first monograph "MONUMENTS" (PGI, 2015). Arai is also the winner of Source-Cord Prize, UK, 2014. His film Oshita Kagami won the highest prize in the short film category at Salerno Film Festival 2018. His works are held in many public collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Musée Guimet, Paris; Hirschhorn Museum, Washington DC. He exhibited in Afterglow Yokohama Triennial 2020.


    Arai has been shortlisted for the Prix Pictet Japan 2023 award.


    Born 1990, Louviers, France

    In her photographs, Céline Bodin investigates the notions of gender and identity in Western culture, weighing the legacy of our art history.


    Venus Variations is themed on the various representations of the goddess Aphrodite/Venus. Bodin investigates the character that became an iconic genre  saturating cultures all around the world, to convey the ambivalent truth of a subject that is part mythology and part carnality.


    The series plays on a relic aspect and questions notions of cult and chimera, reflecting the many variations and reimaginations in stories and  representations of Venus, and the way they were received. A little like a canvas with many ideas, sometimes following the same lead, sometimes going in  different directions, depending on different accounts and visions. Venus Variations is a dreamed rewriting, a celebration.


    Céline Bodin is a French photographer living in London. She trained at the Gobelins School, Paris and in 2013 graduated with a Masters degree in Photography from the London College of Communication. Her series Light of Grace is included in the exhibition ‘Squaring the Circles of Confusion’, RPS, Bristol 2022 and Scarborough Art Gallery, 2023. She has been commissioned by The New Yorker magazine, 2019 and 2021, and a book on her work, The Hunt, was published by Radius Books, 2022.

    Born 1955, London, UK

    Much of the work of Susan Derges revolves around the creation of visual metaphors, exploring the relationship between the observer and the observed; the self and nature or the imagined and the 'real'. She endeavours to manifest or capture invisible scientific and natural processes - the physical appearance of sound vibration, the evolution of frogspawn or the cycles of the moon. Characteristically, her practice has involved cameraless, lens-based, digital and reinvented photographic processes, and encompasses subject matter informed by landscape and abstraction as well as the physical and biological sciences. She is perhaps best known for her pioneering technique of capturing the continuous movement of water by immersing photographic paper directly into rivers or shorelines.  


    'The artist Susan Derges engages with such transformative themes in her treatment of elemental forces, testing the inter-relation between earth, water, air and fire. Her beautifully-crafted images reflect a holistic system that encompasses the human psyche and finds its metaphors through the natural world'.  (Martin Barnes)


    Derges writes of her new works, Many Lives and Many Seasons: ‘40 acorns, collected and germinated in glass bottles in the studio, became 40 small saplings over the course of a year. Each stage of their growth was carefully recorded and digitally collaged into an increasingly branching form that was not known at the outset, but that became, unavoidably, the shape of an oak tree. During the course of the year roots, shoots, buds, flowers, leaves, acorns, leaf fall and acorn fall emerged out of an explosion of life into death and re-emergence from the ground upwards. Archetype, symbol, organising principle: all cycle around the central mystery of life emerging from a singularity into multiplicity’. 


    Susan Derges completed her postgraduate studies at the Slade School of Fine Art before continuing her research at Tsukuba University, Japan. She is a visiting professor in Photography at the University of Plymouth. Collections holding her work include Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Brooklyn Museum;  Art Institute of Chicago;  J.Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles;  Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Victoria & Albert Museum, London.


    Born 1962, Cameroon

    Samuel Fosso opened his photographic studio in Bangui, Central African Republic, at the age of 13.  During the day he ran a commercial studio, photographing local residents, while at night he turned his studio into a theatrical set to create highly performative black and white self-portraits. In this liberated space he experimented with representations of gender, sexuality, masculinity and fashion. Often surrounded by studio props as well as painted urban backdrops, he depicted himself in a variety of guises - wearing high- waisted flared or tasselled trousers, glossy platform boots and heart engraved or aviator shades. Dressing himself in this way can be read as an act of rebellion against the strict dress codes of the time, which saw the prohibition of tight-fitting clothes. 


    Inspired in part by his Igbo heritage and Igbo performance traditions of masquerade and body art, Fosso began to create a more overtly theatrical style of self-portraiture. In his series Tati (1997) he staged colourful, satirical tableaux of characters such as a pirate and a liberated 1970s woman. These carefully staged portraits allowed Fosso to work with invented characters while at the same time emphasizing his own presence, as he says: ‘When you look at my works, it’s my body that is looking at me.  It’s my way of seeing.’


    Samuel Fosso's work was first brought to a wider audience at the Rencontres de la Photographie Africaine in Mali in 1994 and won the Afrique en Créations prize a year later. He has exhibited in major international venues including the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris; Tate Modern and National Portrait Gallery, London; Guggenheim Museum and Museum of Modern Art, New York and the J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. He was included in the acclaimed Africa Remix exhibition which toured worldwide (including Hayward Gallery, London) 2004 - 2007, and Performing for the Camera, Tate Modern, London 2016. His work is in held in many museum collections, including Museum of Modern Art, New York; J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Los Angeles County Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris and Tate, London. In 2022, a major retrospective of his work showed at MEP, Paris -  travelling to the Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany, and Huis Marseille, Amsterdam.


    Fosso is one of the four international artists to have been shortlisted for the highly prestigious 2023 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. 


    Born 1972, Papua New Guinea

    Leila Jeffreys is an Australian photographic and video artist. She began documenting birds by way of photographic portraiture in 2008, working alongside conservationists, ornithologists and bird sanctuaries. Through extensive research and travel, with long periods of waiting on her subjects, she is able to separate these wonderful creatures from their natural surroundings and photograph them with the highest degree of technical skill.


    The wound is the place where the light enters,  a line from a Rumi poem,  is the title Leila Jeffreys has given to her most recent series. She writes: ‘The poem speaks to the fact that pain reveals and helps us cherish what truly matters. We can only mourn what we deeply love.


    The fires that tore through the east coast of Australia in the summer of 2019 gave rise to a moment of profound personal grief. I found myself turning inward.  From this time on, I began dreaming up a new mythology, one in which living creatures develop mental wounds that appear as physical markings. I set about creating a series that focused on birds with markings that appear to the human eye as wounds. These birds – which I feature in portraits, on branches and bonsai – have natural red markings; they appear to bleed, as if their bodies are manifesting the collective pain that is felt by this planet. Yet at the same time, they embrace their wounds with a spirit of openness and beauty.’


    A major exhibition, Leila Jeffreys Birdland, was shown in 2021 at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum, NSW. She has exhibited her work in public art displays at Sydney's Taronga Zoo and the iconic Bergdorf Goodman department store, New York. 


    Born 1966, Berlin

    Kathrin Linkersdorff trained as an architect, setting up her own architectural practice. Influenced by extensive travelling and working in Japan she became fascinated by traditional Japanese culture. She went on to study Japanese ink wash painting and the aesthetic concept of wabi-sabi with its appreciation of beauty in nature that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. She completed her studies in photography at the Schule für Fotografie am Schiffsbauerdam in Berlin with Robert Lyons in 2006-2007.


    Using the medium of photography, Kathrin Linkersdorff translates the concept of wabi-sabi into pictures. Each image is an encounter with a particular object at a particular time, which takes weeks and months of intimate observation to find. Extensive research, lively exchange with scientists and patient experimenting has helped her to discover a way of depicting the inner architecture of living objects.


    Her series, Fairies, represents the result of years of experimentation and testing: capturing fading moments of transience with the lightest possible touch. The practice of biological methodology has turned her studio into a laboratory. Colours are extracted from the plants, and, at the same time, she creates coloured liquids based on the concentrated, water-soluble plant pigments, anthocyanins. These extracted colours are carefully reintroduced to the faded plant tissues and given space to again unfurl. The interaction between colour and form becomes a poetic dance that also reveals the hidden alchemy present in all living matter.


    A monograph on her work, Fairies, was published by Hatje Cantz, 2021.


    A work from the Fairies series has recently been acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    The exhibition, Kathrin Linkersdorff, a Glamour and a Mystery, will be held at the Deichtor Hallen, Internationale Kunst und Fotografie, Hamburg, Autumn 2023.


    Born 1977, Evora, Portugal

    Taking as a starting point a collaboration with HM Prison Birmingham, its inmates and their families, Edgar Martins series What Photography has in Common with an Empty Vase (commissioned by GRAIN Projects, supported by Arts Council England and Birmingham City University), uses the social context of incarceration to explore the philosophical concept of absence and address a broader consideration of the status of the photograph when questions of visibility and documentation overlap .From a humanist perspective the work seeks to reflect on how one deals with the absence of a loved one, brought on by enforced separation. From an ontological perspective it seeks answers to the following questions: how does one represent a subject that eludes visualization, that is absent or hidden from view? How does photography address the politics of visibility in an era that privileges transparency but is also skeptical of fact?


    The Letters are abstract photographs of inmates’ letters (letters exchanged with Edgar Martins and their families). In order to conceal the contents of the letters, Martins overexposed the prints he produced. Later he bathed the darkened prints in a liquid solution over a period of two months in the hope of revealing his subject by peeling away the layers of colour of the photograph. Ironically, it is the chemical composition of the photo paper itself, which destroyed the imprinted image and created these highly textured artworks.


    Martins’ objectives were twofold: to communicate by subtraction, rather than addition, by destroying rather than creating, by obfuscating rather than revealing, thus addressing, in the process, many of the gaps in information, perception and representation and profound anxieties rooted around the ethics and aestheticization that pervade contemporary photographic discourse, when documentary photography and questions of visibility intersect.


    Edgar Martins grew up in Macau, China and represented that country at the 54th Venice Biennale. His work is represented in public collections including the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon; MAAT/Fundacao EDP, Lisbon; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Dallas Museum of Art;  Fondazione MAST, Bologna; Fondation Carmignac, Paris. His first book was awarded the Thames & Hudson and RCA Society Book Art Prize. 


    In 2023, he was awarded the SONY World Photographer of the Year award for his series Our War.


    Born 1951, Helsinki, Finland

    For Jorma Puranen, photography ́s capacity to register reflections is its singular gift. What other medium deals so expressively with the play of light and shadow?


    His series Icy Prospects has as its source historical paintings depicting Arctic landscapes and seascapes. He creatively merges a mixture of mythology, history, and the Nordic fascination that surrounds the notion of polar exploration and the North Pole into his dream-like landscapes. His images reflect a place that is borderless, floating in time, a reminder of the immensity of the unknown that is associated with life above the Arctic Circle. Puranen states: "For fifteen years I have been engaged in landscape projects in which I have prevented direct admiration of the natural scenery by putting something in between the viewer and the subject.”


    With Icy Prospects Puranen painted a sanded piece of wooden board with black, glossy paint to give it a reflective, mirror-like texture. Taking the board outdoors into the icy northern landscape he photographed the fragmentary reflection of the landscape on the surface of the board.


    Jorma Puranen is one of Finland's best-known photographers, with his work held in many major international collections including Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Victoria & Albert Museum, London. His distinguished career has included a tenure as Professor of Photography at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Helsinki.


    Born 1971, Munich, Germany

    Research and analysis are at the heart of Bettina von Zwehl's practice, which has evolved through a number of high-profile artist-residencies in museums including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2011); the Freud Museum, London (2015); the New-York Historical Society Museum (2018); The Queens House, Greenwich (2018); and the BTV Stadtforum Innsbruck in liaison with Castle Ambras, Austria (2019/20). 


    She is currently artist-in-residence at the Ashmolean, The University of Oxford's Museum of Art and Archaeology, where she has access to the museum's collections and archives. Making a new body of work in response to the Ashmolean, von Zwehl's year-long residency will culminate in a major solo exhibition at the museum in 2024.


    Exploring representations of the human condition and human concerns, Von Zwehl's work is greatly informed by the world of psychoanalysis - with a particular interest in childhood and adolescence. The artist has developed a distinctive and conceptual style of portraiture, underpinned by her distinctive use of the profile view and silhouette. 


    In recent years, von Zwehl has further expanded her practice, examining museum collections and historic methods of display - such as the 17th century Wunderkammer.