The Belgian photographer Bieke Depoorter was only 25 years old when she joined the Magnum photography collective.
by Javier Pes
Classic images by the big beasts of photography are on show—and sale—at Photo London, the fourth edition of which opens to the public today, May 17, at Somerset House. The fair offers exhibitions of works by its 2018 Master of Photography, Edward Burtynsky, and one of the founding fathers of the medium, William Henry Fox Talbot, plus classic images by the likes of Brassaï and Bill Brandt, among many others. At the same time, collectors are sure to find fresh talent as well.
Here’s our pick of seven young artists who are stretching the medium, giving its traditions a fresh twist and attracting the interest of collectors and curators. One of them, Tania Franco-Klein, has already added a new prize to her burgeoning resume, winning the Photo London Artproof Schliemann Award 2018, which was announced last night. Something of a double whammy, the young Mexican artist who studied in London gets two residencies, one in Arles funded by Joana and Henrik Schliemann and the second in Tallinn at the Artproof workshop, which comes with a €10,000 ($12,000) production budget to create new works.
Bieke Depoorter, Agata in Paris, France (2017)
Magnum, London, Paris, New York, Tokyo
The Belgian photographer Bieke Depoorter (b. 1986) was just 25 when she joined the Magnum collective. She became a full member in 2016. Her “collaborative portrait,” of Agata, a young woman she met in a Paris strip club, is part of an ongoing series. “They have just been to Athens,” says Sophie Wright, Magnum’s global cultural director.
In the past Depoorter has asked strangers if she should stay the night in their homes, including in Egypt. “It is an incredibly brave slash crazy thing to do,” Wright says. Depoorter’s work will be featured in Magnum’s space in London in the fall in a group show with two leading US Magnum members, Carolyn Drake and Susan Meiselas. Her work at the fair is priced at £3,800 ($5,122), edition of seven.
Fiona Struengmann, “Just Like You, But Different” (2017-18)
A.I. Gallery, London
The Munich-based artist Fiona Struengmann, who is a graduate of Parsons, has been mining an archive of around 7,000 found photographs and producing her own manipulated images. She transforms the snapshots of ordinary life in Germany from the 1920s to the 1950s by honing in on telling details, drawing attention to the way a woman is seated or a hand gesture, then blanking out the background, sometimes adding tiny drops of gold paint. Each is unique and at first glance the delicate monochrome images look like drawings.
“I was in a flea market and a woman came up to me and said ‘I have something for you,’” she explains of the source material. The artist kept some untouched but the rest form the basis of her series “Just Like You, But Different.”
She tells artnet News that she has discovered another trove, this time in France, this one “about slavery and colonialism.” Once again, a collector wants her to mine his archive.
Unique works at Photo London range from £800 to £1,350 ($1,000 to $1,820).
Photo London is on May 15 through 20 at Somerset House, London.
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