This week London braces itself for a major photo-fest. The hub of activity is Photo London, an international photography fair in its second year and running until Sunday May 22.
Based at Somerset House you can see and buy photographs from the stands of over 80 of the world’s leading specialist photo galleries. From rare original prints by 19th-century pioneer Henry Fox Talbot to classic images by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Sebastião Salgado. There’s a stand devoted to the greats of documentary photography and the chance to see emerging global names such as the Angolan born, Milan based Delio Jasse.
Somerset House also provides a showcase of photojournalist Don McCullin that not only includes his classic images of conflict but also early pictures of his 1950s childhood in London. Also included are his later images of Roman ruins in north Africa and recent brooding landscapes of the Somerset countryside where he now lives.
Considering that photography has been around since the early 1800s, it's amazing how long it has taken for it to be embraced in the UK as a recognised art form. The Tate collection didn't have a major photography exhibition until 2003 and its first curator of photography wasn't appointed until 2009. But the Tate is making up for it now with both the Tate Britain and Tate Modern currently hosting major shows which cover the history of the medium.