Top Must See Photography Exhibitions this Spring

Continuing with our regular updates on photography exhibitions not to miss out on in London this Spring…

Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s-1990s

Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s-1990s is a photographic archive by the V&A that aims to increase the number of both Black British Photographic works and images of the lives of black British people. The project aims to highlight the importance of the black British contribution to British culture and art based photography.

The work behind the collection began over seven years ago when the V&A teamed up with the Black Cultural Archives to attain images either by black photographers or images depicted black people in Britain. The BCA also contributed to the work by sourcing recorded oral histories from the photographers, their families or the people within the images. The exhibition is a rich and dynamic presentation of Black Britain with powerful arresting images and a varied and rich content collectively working together to signify it’s importance. A must see exhibition that acknowledges the value of these particular British archives.

Armet Francis, ‘Self-portrait in Mirror’, 1964 (V&A)

Exhibition continues until 24 May 2015
V&A, South Kensington, London
10.00 – 17.45 daily (until 22.00 Fridays)
Free entry


Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840 – 1860

Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860 is one of Britain first exhibitions devoted to the art of salted paper prints that was established by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1839. The method began in Britain and quickly became a revolutionary technique in film printing. The combination of both salt and silver nitrate gave the images a unique aesthetic of soft and subtle toning of the image color. 

Due to the way in which it’s produced, the images are fragile and decline rapidly. This exhibition provides a rare insight to a significant point in photography development and the variety of possibilities in film processing. The work highlights the relationship between light and shade beautifully, demonstrating the dramatic effects a two core components had on historical processing. Photofusion recently ran a workshop with the members of London Independent Photography and produced some fantastic results.

Roger Fenton, Cantiniére, 1855 © Wilson Centre for Photography

The exhibition gives the viewer a rare insight into the wondrous developments of film processing and the British contribution to the development of Photography as we know it. Photofusion hopes to do more workshops in alternative processing so keep a look out on the website for announcements.

Exhibition continues until 7 June 2015
Adult £12.00 (without donation £10.90)
Concession £10.50 (without donation £9.50)


Deutsche Borse Photography Prize 2015

This year’s shortlist reflects a diversity of attitudes towards the medium underpinned by an exploration into new and unexpected modes of presentation incorporating video, text, object and wall-based photographic displays. Nikolai Bakharev’s ambiguous images of Russian bathers on public beaches in the 80s and 90s, at a time when photographs of nudity were forbidden, play on the tension between acceptable and unacceptable imagery, public and private realms. In the work of Zanele Muholi, the personal and political are also interwoven in her tender, unflinching portraits and testimonies of the South African LGBTI community.

South Africa further provides a location and point of political departure in the work of Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse. Their collaborative publication presents a, ‘photo/graphic’ album of images and text which uncover the history of a once elite, now abandoned high-rise apartment block in Johannesburg. Finally, Viviane Sassen’s sculptural, abstracted, darkly sensual images continue to effect the blurring of genres, which characterize her work and position her as a leading force in contemporary art photography.

This year’s judges are Chris Boot, Executive Director, Aperture Foundation; Rineke Dijkstra, Artist; Peter Gorschlüter, Deputy Director, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst and Anne Marie Beckmann, Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse. The winner will be announced at a special award ceremony held at The Photographers’ Gallery on 28 May 2015.

No. 70, from the series Relation, 1991-1993 ©MAMM, Moscow / Nikolai Bakharev

Exhibition continues until 7 June 2015
The Photographers’ Gallery
Free Entry


Adopting Britain

Southbank Centre’s Changing Britain festival interrogates 70 years of British history, focusing on society, culture and politics. Adopting Britain is an interactive, accessible exhibition about immigration as part of Changing Britain, presented in partnership with Counterpoints Arts.

Changing Britain is inspired by Tales of a New Jerusalem, a series of acclaimed books by historian David Kynaston examining the social history of England after World War Two. In the run-up to the 2015 national election, with immigration high on the agenda, we ask what we can do to promote understanding and empathy for fellow human beings.

The exhibition highlight stories from British recruitment campaigns in the Caribbean in the 1950s to Indian sub-continent and Eastern European migration, and the contribution made to the British economic and social landscape. It explores our moral and legal obligation to protect individuals, especially children, who flee their countries in order to seek sanctuary in Britain.

© Tim Smith, Children at play in the Beeston area of Leeds, 2005, Courtesy of Migration Museum Project

Exhibition continues until 6 September 2015
Open 10am – 11pm, Spirit Level at Royal Festival Hall
Free entry