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8 unmissable London photography exhibitions - Summer 2023


Written by Becky T

Published May 04, 2023

As a photographer, you view life through your own personal lens. Perfecting your work and discovering your style as you explore life through your camera is crucial to reaching your full potential and becoming the professional photographer you want to be. However, taking the time to explore the work of others will allow you to see different perspectives and styles that you might wish to employ or emulate yourself. But where do you go to explore said work? 

Attending a photography exhibition in London is an excellent way to broaden your horizons and discover new work. There are plenty of photography exhibitions in London to explore this spring. In this guide, we’ll take a look at 8 unmissable photography exhibitions in London that are happening now or right around the corner: 

  1. Eric Gyamfi: Fixing Shadows – Julius and I
  2. Civilization: The Way We Live Now
  3. Yevonde: Life and Colour
  4. A World In Common: Contemporary African Photography
  5. Ajamu: The Patron Saint of Darkrooms
  6. Wildlife Photographer of the Year
  7. Gideon Mendel: Fire / Flood
  8. Astronomy Photographer of the Year

If you’re ready to explore new themes, lives, and experiences, let’s take a closer look at the stunning photography exhibitions in London listed above. 

1. Eric Gyamfi: Fixing Shadows – Julius and I

self-portrait cyanotype print by Eric Gyamfi from his Fixing Shadows - Julius & I exhibition
Photo by Eric Gyamfi

This exhibition, curated by Bindi Vora, explores "how photography can shift meanings and histories – ‘fixing shadows’ of legacy, absence, and revival".

Fixing Shadows is Ghanian photographer, Eric Gyamfi's first solo exhibition, which includes self-portraits of the artist blended with those of African American composer, Julius Eastman (1940-1990). Displayed on beautiful cyanotype prints, this personal homage to Eastman comments on the intimacy of influence and legacy.

Gyamfi was born the same year that Eastman died, but their abstract interactions are materialised in this powerful exhibition, showcasing the ways that identity and influence can trascend life itself. Just like people, photographs and identities can be reincarnated and re-engaged with. Speaking on this very process, Gyamfi has said “I am interested in what happens to the life of the photograph as it gets sited through time, through death. Fixing shadows; Julius and I, works on the space/life between two photographs, mapped/permutated through different times, encounters and potentialities, as they move through a certain death.”

2. Civilization: The Way We Live Now

image by Vincent Fournier of an astronaut in the Guiana Space Centre
Photo by Vincent Fournier

Featuring works from 150 contemporary photographers, this exhibition explores "the complexity and contradictions of contemporary civilization".

Eight thematic chapters take the audience on a journey through the layers and components of civilised society. From authority and power to our relationship to 'home', Civilisation: The Way We Live Now weaves through different cultural and personal lived experiences, seeking to track "the visual threads of humankind’s ever-changing, extraordinarily complex life across the globe".

3. Yevonde: Life and Colour

portrait by Yevonde of a woman in the 1930s glancing to the side of the camera
Photo by Yevonde Middleton

Supported by The CHANEL Culture Fund and building on the gallery's mission to increase the representation of women, this exhibition explores the life and career of London photographer, Yevonde.

Yevonde Middleton (1893-1975), known professionally as Madame Yevonde, pioneered the use of colour in portrait photography during in the 1930s. Featuring photographs from throughout her over 60-year career, Life and Colour pays homage to this creative trailblazer and suffragette. During her lifetime, her works were featured in high society magazines like Tatler and The Sketch, and her creative legacy continues today.

Working during a time when there were very few female photographers, Yevonde's influence should not be undervalued. She herself was a passionate women's rights activist, and her story evidences the dedication of a woman who was intent on claiming freedom and autonomy through her creative talent and innovation.

A parting word of wisdom from the woman herself: "Be original or die would be a good motto for photographers to adopt…let them put life and colour into their work" - Yevonde.

Hire locations for your next photoshoot with Tutti

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4. A World In Common: Contemporary African Photography

image by Kudzanai Chiurai of an African woman wearing a leopard print suit
Photo by Kudzanai Chiurai

In a bid to increase the visibility and representation of African artists, this exhibition explores "how photography, film, audio, and more have been used to reimagine Africa’s diverse cultures and historical narratives".

Spanning generations, landscapes, time zones, and thematic experiences, A World in Common will take you on a journey through a diverse range of African histories and geographies, leaning on the artists' narratives to uncover how "the past and the future to co-exist in powerful and transformative ways". If you're seeking inspiration for your latest photoshoot concepts, this exhibition showcases how you can use identity and legacy to inform your creative vision.

5. Ajamu: The Patron Saint of Darkrooms

black and white image by Ajamu from his series Black Bodyscapes (1990) showing a man's back wearing a bra
Photo by Ajamu

Curated by Mark Sealy, The Patron Saint of Darkrooms seeks to celebrate black queer bodies and eroticism, and promote their pleasure as activism.

In an act of liberation, Ajamu challenges and subverts the dominant ideas about masculinity, gender and sexuality, reframing (and reclaiming) what it means to be black and queer in the UK. From self-portraits to erotic embraces, a range of evocative photographs gather together to narrate the nuanced, lived experiences of the black LGBTQ+ community.

The exhibition will include some entirely new commissions and projects, as well as those featured in the artist's Black Circus Master (1997), Ecce Homo (2023) series, and more. Coated in lines of latex, the exhibition space will embody an imagined darkroom, "an allusion to the sense of anticipation in Ajamu's process".

Please note that under 16s must be accompanied by an adult and the use of latex in the gallery space may cause allergic reactions.

6. Wildlife Photographer of the Year

London Photography Exhibitions - Wildlife Photographer of the Year (photo by Brandon Güell)
Photo by Brandon Güell
  • Dates: 14 October 2022 - 02 July 2023
  • Price: Price information is extensive. According to the exhibition website, the pricing for attendees includes the following: 
  • Adult:  £17.00
  • Child:  £10.25
  • Family (1 Adult 2 Children):  £29.95
  • Family (1 Adult 3 Children):  £38.00
  • Family (2 Adults 1 Child):  £35.25
  • Family (2 Adults 2 Children):  £43.50
  • Family (2 Adults 3 Children):  £51.50
  • Concession:  £13.50
  • Art Fund adult:  £8.50
  • Art Fund concession:  £6.95
  • Location: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD, UK
  • Learn More: You can explore the exhibit further and purchase tickets at https://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year.html

Great photography can accomplish a number of things. It can make us look at the more difficult aspects of life. It can bring us joy. It can help us explore new themes or find new perspectives. Some photography, however, allows us to learn more about the magnificent world around us. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is a great exhibit for those of your who love capturing the beauty of nature and displaying it in your photography. 

This exhibit features some of the top nature photography from around the world, capturing creatures and landscapes in all of their splendour for others to enjoy and explore for themselves. If you're looking to build your nature photography portfolio and you’re trying to see what makes a nature photo worth showing to others, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year was made for you!

7. Gideon Mendel: Fire / Flood

two photographs by Gideon Mendel, one showing a woman standing in front of a building ruined by fire, the other showing a man standing in a flooded room
Photo by Gideon Mendel
  • Dates: 25 November 2022 - 30 September 2023
  • Price: Free to attend
  • Location: Soho Photography Quarter

Curated from two of Gideon Mendel's core projects: Drowning World and Burning World, this free outdoor photography exhibition in London explores Mendel’s "personal response to our climate crisis", documenting the loss and catastrophe that emerges in the aftermath of natural disasters brought about by global warming.

Looking particularly at the devastation caused by floods and wildfires, Mendel's images are intimate and emotive, exposing the fragility of life and the resilience of humanity. Through this, he aims to broadcast their strength and dignity to the world, whilst highlighting the brutal reality that those who suffer the most from climate change are the poorest on the planet.

8. Astronomy Photographer of the Year

photograph of an image of space from earth

The Astronomy Photographer of the Year is an annual competition where photographers across the globe compete for the prestigious title. Shortlisted candidates go on display at the National Maritime Museum in London.

All the wonders of the cosmos come alive in this beautiful exhibition of astronomical photography. From immense planets to shimmering nebulae, there's nothing quite like looking into the vast splendour of space to put the human experience into perspective.

Now in its 15th year, entries are judged within eight main categories for different astronomical subjects, each with a £1,500 prize for the winner and £500 for the runner-up. There will also be special awards for 'Best Newcomer' and 'Image Innovation', as well as a £1,500 prize for the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year (open to entrants under 16). The winner of the overall competition will be awarded £10,000 at the awards ceremony on 14 September 2023.

Follow the hashtag #APY15 on social media to stay up to date with this year's competition.

Wrapping up

No matter what type of photographer you want to become, visiting photography exhibitions is an outstanding way to discover new styles, learn how to improve your own art, and find inspiration. And with new collections popping up all over the city every month, there's no shortage of exciting works to discover.

Weekdays are generally quieter for most exhibitions, but you can book timeslots in advance online for all of them to guarantee admission. Why not make a day of it with a friend and visit a few in succession, stopping by at some local independent pubs to discuss your thoughts on each exhibition. All in the name of research, of course.

But what do you do when you’re ready to put your skills to the test? Who do you turn to for photoshoot locations? Tutti makes it easy for artists to find the right spaces for their work by connecting them directly with space owners to streamline the search and rental process. If you’ve been looking up, “photography studio London” to no avail, start here with Tutti!

Hire locations for your next photoshoot with Tutti

Choose from 1000+ spaces and locations on Tutti and deal directly with space hosts for a quick, hassle-free booking process.

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