The venue for Photo London

Above: Somerset House, the venue for Photo London. Credit: Anthony O'Neil.

Photo London Avoid

Photo London is a disaster for serious photography. For two main reasons. First, there is no benefit to photographic art to have the art-form we love ghettoized and hived-off from the general run of art. It makes for a dull, dull fair, and it is demeaning to artists who have worked hard to have their works contextualized together with Glenn Brown or Judd and discussed as per high art. For this same reason Tillmans will not show at The Photographers Gallery. Paul Graham has expressed this position often too: art means art.

Second reason. Many of the galleries exhibiting at Photo London carry on an activity that is close to, or is perhaps actual, sharp practice. They sell reprints of photos by dead photographers made only months ago with a certificate of authority from the deceased's estate. Many such sellers promote the authenticity of such prints without mentioning to the buyer that, authentic as they are, such prints are essentially valueless, and have no resale value whatever.

Of course, no serious collector of photography would look twice, or even once at such a photo (not vintage; not signed; often unnumbered or numbered quite arbitrarily, etc.). So, such dealers tend to target "young collectors" who are naive market participants and are basically getting fleeced when they purchase this kind of photo.

(30 March 2018)