8 Great Photography Exhibitions to See: June 2017

Original photograph: Lily Cole, 2005 by Miles Aldridge. © Eleanor Macnair.

Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh by Eleanor Macnair

‘Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh’ was started on a whim by Eleanor Macnair following a photographic pub quiz in which one of the rounds involved making a reproduction of a famous photograph using Play-Doh, inspiring Macnair to start the project. 

She remakes both well-known and lesser-known photographs in Play-Doh and posts them to the internet as an accessible way for the audience to relook at familiar photographs and discover new ones. For this display, Macnair has searched through the photographs collection of the National Portrait Gallery to remake a selection of portraits in Play-Doh to highlight the diversity and breadth of the collection –  from the portrait of Sarah Forbes Bonetta by Camille Silvy in 1862, to Ida kar in 1944 and Tinie Tempah by Nadav Kander in 2011.

Macnair has also recently collaborated with Magnum for their 70th anniversary – the online exhibition can be viewed here.

Image: Original photograph: Lily Cole, 2005 by Miles Aldridge rendered in Play-doh © Eleanor Macnair

Bookshop Print Sales Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, London

May 18th 2017 – September 24th 2017


Joel Meyerowitz: Towards Colour 1962-1978

A new exhibition of work by Joel Meyerowitz opens at Beetles+Huxley, including rarely seen black and white photographs from Meyerowitz's early career. The exhibition will highlight the photographer's seminal street photography – tracing his gradual move from using both black and white and colour film to a focus on pure colour, over the course of two decades. 

The subject of over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide and two-time Guggenheim Fellow, Meyerowitz is one of the most highly-regarded photographers of the second half of the twentieth century. Alongside his contemporaries, William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, Meyerowitz drove the positioning of colour photography from the margins to the mainstream. 

The exhibition will feature bodies of work made by Meyerowitz between 1963 and 1978, from his very early days shooting in black and white on the streets of New York alongside Garry Winogrand and Tony Ray-Jones, to the year he published his first book, “Cape Light”. This period was vital for Meyerowitz as he began to question the medium of photography itself, engaging in an aesthetic exploration of both form and composition. He moved away from what he describes as the “caught moment” toward a more non-hierarchical image in which everything in the image, including the colour, plays an equal, vital role. These intricately structured images, which Meyerowitz calls “field photographs”, marked a seismic shift in the history of photography. 

“Joel Meyerowitz: Towards Colour 1962-1978” will be presented in association with Leica, one of the world's most famous camera makers. As a famous Leica user, Meyerowitz joined the Leica Hall of Fame in January 2017. 

Image: © Joel Meyerowitz, New York City, 1963 

Beetles+Huxley, 3-5 Swallow St, Mayfair, London W1B 4DE

May 23rd 2017 – June 24th 2017


New Realities. Photography in the Ninenteenth Century

This summer the Rijksmuseum is presenting a major retrospective of 19th-century photography. Three hundred photos from the museum’s own collection will show just how varied photography was immediately after its invention in 1839. The exhibition will include portraits, nudes, cityscapes and travel photos, as well as scientific and commercial photography, and the first amateur snapshots.

The exhibition New Realities will feature work from leading photographers including William Henry Fox Talbot, Julia Margaret Cameron, Roger Fenton and Gustave Le Gray, alongside anonymous surprises which have never previously been shown. One highlight will be work by the first woman photographer, Anna Atkins, who published the first book illustrated with photographs. The Dutch photographers George Hendrik Breitner and Willem Witsen will also be represented.

Today photography is a universal language that everyone speaks and understands, but this was far from the case in the early days of the medium. There is a vast contrast between the casual snapshots of today and the experiments of the earliest photographers, which took such great effort to produce. This new and magical medium caused a revolutionary shift away from the styles of imagery people were accustomed to seeing in paintings, drawings or engravings. Photography introduced an entirely new way of seeing and representing reality.

New Realities will show how people set out with their camera to explore the world, from personal life to the unfamiliar peoples of distant Asia. X-rays and photos of botanical collections will illustrate the use of photography in the scientific world. There will also be examples of practical applications such as police photographs of criminals, and the first uses of photography in advertising. The exhibition will cast light on how photography established its position as an artistic medium, initially with subjects and compositions derived from painting. Finally, we will see how amateur photography took off and the medium came to be used increasingly as a source of entertainment.

Image: © Peter Henry Emerson, Gathering Water-Lilies

Rijksmuseum,  Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands

June 17th 2017 – September 17th 2017


Auckland Festival of Photography – Kristin Hatland & John Kiely

As part of the 2017 Auckland Festival of Photography, Hatland & Shutter Hub member Kiely will be taking over the gallery and exhibiting the results of their 12 month collaborative project. The results of this long distance photographic conversation are dark and striking, and will be well worth a view.  

Image: © Kristin Hatland, NZ 

Monterey Gallery, 5 Cook St, Howick, Auckland, 2014, NZ

June 8th 2017 – June 24th 2017


Project Cleansweep by Dara McGrath

Judged by Internationally renowned photographer Martin Parr, this award was developed by curator Linda Shevlin. The aim being to provide a photographer with the opportunity to produce a body of work for exhibition at Roscommon Arts Centre as part of Photo Ireland Festival & Belfast Exposed Futures Gallery as part of Belfast Photo Festival. The artist is also being supported by The Gallery of Photography through the provision of 30 hours free access to their Digital Studio for pre/production.

The body of work McGrath will show is entitled Project Cleansweep. It is a project that surveys the landscape of chemical and biological weapons in the British Isles and its continuing legacy, interrogating deliberate state and military encroachment into and appropriation (often secretive) of the landscape, essentially a massive ‘land grab’. This bucolic landscape today holds layers of narratives that the security apparatus of the state would prefer not to tell. It is another representation of the impact of state and commercial interests on a rural setting, often causing long term problems of pollution and abandonment.

Dara McGrath is a photographic artist based in Cork City Ireland. His photo works look at transitional spaces, in-between places where architecture, landscape and the built environment intersect, where a dialogue – of absence rather than presence – is created. Recent exhibitions include Espace Lhomond Paris Photo, New Irish Works, PhotoHof Salzburg, Gallery of Photography Dublin, Photo Biennale Thessalonika, Centre Des Beaux Arts Brussels, Voies-Off Arles, Venice Biennale of Architecture, a Solas Award and was recently nominated for the Prize Pictet 2016.

Image: © Dara McGrath

Belfast Exposed Photography, The Exchange Place, 23 Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2FF

June 1st 2017 – June 17th 2017


Marilyn Stafford – Stories in Pictures 1950-60

“I have always been fond of stories, listening to them, telling them, performing them, singing them. One way or another my life has been that of an observer and story teller”

Photo-journalist Marilyn Stafford, who now lives in West Sussex, was born in Cleveland Ohio, in 1925. She originally trained as an actress, at the age of 7 she was scouted to train at the Cleveland Play House Theatre, along with big names like Paul Newman. She then studied drama at university and went to New York to act, finding work off Broadway and in television.

Her photographic career began in New York in 1948 when she was asked to photograph Albert Einstein for friends who were making a documentary about him. “The director gave me a camera and said you are going to be the photographer. I said I didn’t know how to take pictures. I had only taken them on a Brownie. So, in the car from New York to New Jersey, I learned how to use it.” 

This single experience set her on her future path. She went on to assist Francesco Scavullo, a controversial fashion photographer whose work has been published widely including in Vogue and Cosmopolitan “I was not really interested in that kind of photography, but that was where you could earn a living as a woman. I was interested in telling stories in pictures and showing the world to people as I saw it, maybe to make them see something and then act on it or enjoy it.”

In December 1948 Marilyn moved to Paris briefly singing with an ensemble at Chez Carrère near the Champs Elysees, and photographing for a Fashion PR Company. At the club she met Edith Piaf and also became friends with Robert Capa and during this period she was also introduced by her life-long friend the Indian writer Mulk Raj Anand to Henri Cartier-Bresson who encouraged her photographic career. “I often went out photographing with Cartier-Bresson – the time I photographed him, was at a household and appliance exhibition at the Grand Palais”

The exhibition also features Marilyn’s pioneering photographs, where, for the first time, she took models out of the studio and chic salons into the streets of Paris, using a photo-documentary style to her fashion shots. In the mid-sixties Marilyn Stafford settled in London, where, along with Fay Godwin, Sally Soames, and Jane Bown, she helped pave the way for future female photographers working on Fleet Street. Marilyn Staffords commitment to supporting female documentary photographers continues today with the launch of the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award Launched in Spring 2017 in Association with Fotodocument.

Image: © Marilyn Stafford – Pret a Porter I Montmartre Paris 1950

Lucy Bell Fine Art, 46 Norman Road, St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex, TN38 0EJ

May 6th 2017 –  June 24th 2017


Faraway Focus – Photographers Go Travelling (1880–2015)

Travelling has been a major theme in photography for over a hundred years. As a genre, travel photography emerged around the same time as mass tourism in the late 19th century, when it reinforced expectations of foreign parts as somehow exotic. Only since the 1920s has travel inspired photographers to respond artistically to cultural, political and social conditions in other countries. These pictures might be spontaneous reactions to the unknown or else prompted by a preconceived plan. The exhibition presents over 180 works by 17 photographers and reflects the history of 20th century art photography. The different approaches illustrate changes in visual idiom and perceptions from early travel photography down to our globalised world.

Max Baumann (*1961), Kurt Buchwald (*1953), Marianne Breslauer (1909–2001), Tim Gidal (1909–1996), Thomas Hoepker (*1936), Sven Johne (*1976), Robert Petschow (1888–1945), Hans Pieler (1951–2012) and Wolf Lützen (*1946), Evelyn Richter (*1930), Erich Salomon (1886–1944), Hans-Christian Schink (*1961), Heidi Specker (*1962), Wolfgang Tillmans (*1968), Karl von Westerholt (*1963), Ulrich Wüst (*1949), Tobias Zielony (*1973)

Image: © Wolf Lutzen and Dr Johan Filip Rindler. Hans Pieker/ Wolf Lutzen, from the series ‘Transit Berlin-Hamburg’, 1984

Berlinische Galerie, Alte Jakobstraße 124-128, 10969 Berlin

May 19th 2017 – September 11th 2017


Michael Wolf, Tokyo Compression

Nowhere do we come closer, involuntarily, to our neighbour than in the underground. The underground is a conspiratorial venue for human excesses: the enforced compression of anxiety, sorrow, pain, madness and fury. In the realm of the soulless underground, the suburban metro represents the ultimate test for today’s city-dweller, the place where the crucial focus of his inescapable anxieties, constraints, neuroses, desires and hopes is revealed. – Christian Schüle *

Michael Wolf is known for capturing the hyper-density of the city of Hong Kong in his large-scale photographs of its high-rise

In his series Tokyo Compression, Wolf centres on the subsurface crush of the Tokyo subway, in which thousands of commuters make their daily journeys between work and home. Photographing individuals pressed against the windows of the crowded trains during the morning rush hour, Wolf’s images are a disquieting metaphor for the conditions of city-dwellers in today’s dense urban centres.

The images for Tokyo Compression were photographed at Shimo-Kitazawa station in Tokyo over a four-year period. Over time, Wolf has engaged with the evocative potential of abstraction, cropping and reframing his images to hone in more closely on his subjects. With skin pressed against the windows, the faces of the commuters are often partially obscured, blurred from view by condensation on the glass, or shielded intentionally from others by surgical masks. Closed eyes and earphones reflect an internalised retreat from the discomfort and overcrowding, as though suspending time until the journey is over, while some passengers squeeze their eyes tightly shut as a gesture of resistance to being photographed. On other occasions, they meet Wolf’s gaze, as in the example of Tokyo Compression #18 where one closed eye creates the mirror-image of the artist, training his vision through the viewfinder.

On March 25, 2013, the Odakyu subway line was relocated, thus bringing this series to a conclusion. 

Image: © Michael Wolf, Tokyo Compression #18

Flowers Gallery, 82 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8DP

May 26th 2017 – July 1st 2017


Got an exhibition you want to share? Drop us an email with a paragraph about the exhibition, web link, details and an image. 

Original photograph: Lily Cole, 2005 by Miles Aldridge. © Eleanor Macnair.