Must see photography exhibitions in London this summer

London is a city well known for its galleries and thriving art scene, and photography exhibitions have always ranked high as a hot ticket event on the busy summer social calendar. 2014 looks set to be another excellent year for one of Europe’s hottest centres of photography.

With so much on offer it might be hard to figure out which exhibit to prioritise, so hopefully our guide to five must-see exhibitions will be of some help:

1. Imperial War Museum – ‘IMW Contemporary’. Exhibition is on until September 25th

(c) Mark Neville

(c) Mark Neville

As part of a new set of galleries marking the anniversary of World War One, the Imperial War museum commissioned British Artist Mark Neville to capture some truly visceral images of the war in Afghanistan. Possession of a camera was a capital offence during WWI, but Mark’s unfettered access to the region has left us with some moving, stark, and truly memorable images. Thoughtful and provocative, Neville’s ability to capture the moment in precise detail is without peer.

2.  Royal Geographical Society – ‘Travel Photographer of the Year’, is on until August 17th.

(c) David Oliete

(c) David Oliete

Perhaps the most ubiquitous photographs of all time remain the humble holiday snap, but there’s nothing humble about the images put on display by the Royal Geographic society, as they showcase the best amateur and professional images from last years’ travel photographer of the year competition. With some truly stunning pieces on display, visitors will be transported to exotic locales and treated to moments of spontaneous beauty.

3.  Photographer’s Gallery – ‘Primrose: Early Russian Colour Photography’, is on display until October 19th.

Stalin's funeral, 1953  (c) Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow

Stalin’s funeral, 1953
(c) Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow

This exhibit represents a chronological history of Russian photography beginning in 1860 and ending in 1980, all in vibrant colour. Chronicling the tumultuous change from tsarist Russia to the Soviet Union in its prime and featuring works from some of the nation’s greatest photographers, you’ll be treated to a side of Russian life you might find at times familiar and at others surprising. Either way this compelling gallery is sure to delight and intrigue.

4. Getty Images Gallery – ‘Jewels of the Archive’ is on until September 3rd.

(c) Getty Images

(c) Getty Images

The Getty Image Hulton archive undoubtedly has one of the best collections of 20th century photojournalism in the whole world, and visitors are to be treated to the very best of them in their exhibition entitled ‘Jewels of the Archive.’ Showcasing everything from fashion, celebrities, sport and even Antarctic expeditions, this exhibit will showcase of the highs and lows of life over the course of an entire century, and is set to build on the success of last year’s critically acclaimed ‘Best Of’ exhibition

5. Photographer’s Gallery – ‘Didn’t we have a lovely time’, is on until August 31st.

(c) John Hinde

(c) John Hinde

‘Didn’t we have a lovely time’ is a delightful group exhibition, which puts a modern spin on the traditional seaside holiday. Coastal portraits and human interest pieces dominate with familiar settings taking on new proportions through the lens of the camera.

With work by Simon Roberts, Luke Stephenson, Nicholas Hughes, Mike Perry and John Hinde, this eclectic group of pictures has something for everyone.

Featured images (c) Nicholas Hughes from the exhibition ‘Didn’t we have a lovely time’