Photo London 2022: a guide to the best photography shows

London is never short of creative goings-on, but photography is set to enter the foreground this May with a double dose of activity during Photo London and London Gallery Weekend. 

At Somerset House, Photo London (12 – 15 May 2022) will stage its seventh fair with 106 galleries hailing from 18 countries, several of which will devote their booths to supporting Ukraine.

Celebrating the past, present and future of photography, this year’s event will involve a dynamic Discovery Section, spotlighting rising stars in the medium and beyond, an expansive talks programme, and an exhibition by this year’s Master of Photography, Nick Knight. 

Here, we’ve pulled together our highlights, both during the weekend and beyond.  

Offprint London 2022 
Tate Modern 
13 – 15 May

Returning to Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall for its sixth edition, Offprint brings together international publishers for a near-overwhelming celebration of everything independent, experimental and socially-engaged across photography, architecture, design, humanities, and visual culture.

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize
The Photographers’ Gallery 
Until 12 Jun 2022

Jo Ractliffe, Roadside stall on the way to Viana, 2007 from the series Terreno Ocupado © Jo Ractliffe

Spanning the personal and political, the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize will announce this year’s winner on 12 May. Nominees Anastasia Samoylova, Jo Ractliffe, Deana Lawson and Gilles Peress are a testament to contemporary photography’s ability to address the complexities of conflict and climate change head-on. 

Jeff Wall 
White Cube Mason’s Yard 
Until 25 June 2022;
Andreas Gursky
White Cube Bermondsey
until 26 June 2022

Andreas Gursky, V&R II, 2022 (2009). © Andreas Gursky / DACS. Courtesy White Cube

With Jeff Wall at its Mason’s Yard gallery and Andreas Gursky in Bermondsey, White Cube is going all out when it comes to trailblazers of the photography world. While Wall is showing his recent ‘near documentary’ images, new photographs from Gursky focus on global capitalism and the ‘essential commonality’ of contemporary life.

Photo London Discovery Section 
Somerset House 
Until 15 May 

Bowei Yang, Zhang and the other side of a butterfly. Courtesy of Hi-Noon

Photo London’s Discovery section is known for signifying what’s next for photography through the lens of emerging galleries. This year, curated by Tim Clark, it includes ‘Photography Breaking Boundaries’, featuring sculptural works and an NFT presentation; artist duo Walter & Zoniel’s Rainbow Camera; and works from Hi-Noon gallery. 

‘Gareth McConnell, The Brighter the Flowers, The Fiercer the Town’ 
Seen Fifteen
Until 11 June 

Gareth McConnell, Dream Meadow XXI, 2021

Gareth McConnell‘s ongoing series The Brighter the Flowers, The Fiercer the Town draws from the photographer’s upbringing in Northern Ireland amidst The Troubles. Showing at Seen Fifteen as part of the Peckham 24 festival, the series is a visual assault of bursting colours and floral hallucinations, oscillating between everything from funeral processions to raves. 

‘Lee Miller: Nurses’
The Fitzrovia Chapel
11 May – 5 June

Surgical Gloves are sterilised and dried on stands, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, England, 1943, by Lee Miller

Photojournalist, Surrealist, model, fashion photographer, and war correspondent – Lee Miller is nothing short of a 20th-century icon. A lesser-known, but no less remarkable facet of Miller’s career is her documentation of nursing in Europe during the Second World War, now on display at The Fitzrovia Chapel, curated by Hannah Watson. With potent connections to our current turbulent times, the images celebrate nurses’ essential work alongside moments of everyday life and tragedy. 

‘Known and Strange: Photographs from the Collection’
Until 6 November 

Andy Sewell, Untitled from the series Known and Strange Things Pass, 2020. Purchase funded by Cecil Beaton Fund  © Andy Sewell

Featuring works from the V&A’s collection, ‘Known and Strange’ explores photography’s ability to transition from the familiar into the abstract, the ordinary into the otherworldly. The display includes impressive acquisitions from artists such as Paul Graham, Susan Meiselas, Dafna Talmor, Zanele Muholi and Tom Lovelace. Viewers are invited to challenge everyday assumptions and experience broader perspectives through both time and space. 

Photo London talks 
Somerset House 
Until 15 May 

Anastasia Samoylova, Concrete Erosion, 2019, from the series FloodZone.© Anastasia Samoylova

In addition to the astounding number of works on show, this year’s Photo London will also present an impressive line-up of talks. Highlights include a discussion on Melanie Manchot’s performative practice; a conversation between artist Anastasia Samoylova and writer, curator, artist and educator David Campany; and the examination of questions such as whether Frank Horvat could be considered a feminist. 

Dover Street Market

Dover Street Market is celebrating Photo London in typically stylish fashion, with a series of installations and product launches. Highlights include a Cecilie Bahnsen campaign book by Takashi Homma, 
a Jil Sander campaign book by Chris Rhodes, T-shirts by Raf Simons in collaboration with David Sims, and much more. §