There is no better city in the world to see innovative, inventive, intelligent photography than the British capital. Right this minute, all over the city, exciting exhibitions can be found displaying work from some of the world’s most challenging, provocative and powerful photographers. Here are our top five:
1. Scarcity Waste (The Syngenta Photography Award Exhibition)
Located in Somerset House from 11 March to 10 April, Scarcity Waste is this year’s collection from the Syngenta Photography Awards. With more than 90 pieces from 42 artists, including finalists Richard Allenby-Pratt, Stegano De Luigi and Camille Michel, the photography is centred on the titular theme. At times harrowing, at times angering, at times hopeful, Scarcity Waste collects many differing, thought-provoking reactions to issues relating to land, food, air and water around the world.
2. Human Rights, Human Wrongs
As anybody with an interest in the medium will tell you, photographers have played a massive part in how we understand human rights issues around the world. This exhibition, at the Photographer’s Gallery in Soho until 6 April, brings together a deeply moving collection of images from the postwar era that show this phenomenon in action.
From the American Civil Rights movement to violent political coups in South America, this exhibition tells the story of the last seven decades in thrilling, often terrifying, fashion.
3. Revelations: Experiments in Photography
For those fascinated with the history of photography, there is not a more captivating exhibition you could find than this one, which can be seen at the Science Museum from 20 March to 13 September. Exploring how, during the mid-1800s, photography’s prime usage was by scientists hoping to record events that could not be tracked by the naked eye, it collects some of the most unusual and striking imagery ever captured. Many of the photographs on show come from the National Photography Collection and went on to have a huge influence on modern art.
Proudly proclaiming itself London’s first ever ‘Anti-Gallery’, Heist is one of the most reliable places to go in the capital to immerse yourself in out-there photography exhibitions. Its latest, Origins, is typical of the venue. Opening its doors on 5 March, it focuses with gorgeous intensity on people and places that have resisted global change in an increasingly shrunken world.
With images from the likes of Jimmy Nelson, Rankin, Massimo Listri, Mario Marino and Claire Rosen, sculptures from artists including Andres Botha and Patrick Colhoun, and a performance by Hala Ali, expect an unconventional exhibition that asks difficult questions and offers no easy answers.
5. Karen Knorr
The latest in the BP Spotlight series of exhibitions in Tate Modern, this one on the work of Karen Knorr runs until 4 October. It mainly focuses upon two of Knorr’s most famous series, Belgravia (1979-1981) and Gentlemen (1981-1983). Infused with all the sharp political insight for which she is famous, these cutting studies of patriarchy, privilege and affluence still have the power to provoke debate.