With more than 100 Photomonth exhibitions to take in over October and November, and at least 500 contributing artists, it is understandably difficult to know exactly where to focus one’s gaze.
The state of London today is a common theme among work presented this year. For his satirical series Harrodsburg, Glaswegian Dougie Wallace ventured into West London, where he papped the mega rich out shopping in what he calls a “story of glut, greed and the widening wealth gap”.
Portraits of a different kind line the walls of one East End institution. Seven photographers have snapped the tourists, shoppers, revellers and stressed out office workers who frequent Brick Lane Beigel Bake, with the results on display there this month.
The future of East London in the face of luxury blocks of flats and rising living costs is of concern to Hackney Wick resident Ansell Cizic. In The Wick and Beyond, he records those artists whose very presence in the East has helped it become an attractive proposition for property developers.
Jerwood Drawing Prize nominee Pete Burke takes a more voyeuristic look at what the future holds. Glimpsing the Future is a series of photographs taken through building site peepholes in Hackney, which he is displaying alongside drawings that act as a route between them.
Not all the exhibitions are about the here and now. Syd Shelton’s photographs of the 1970s Rock Against Racism movement capture an intriguing political period in which musicians and political activists confronted racist ideology on the streets and in parks.
Global issues come to the fore with Africa’s Last Colony, which remembers conflict in Western Sahara 40 years ago with never before seen images by UK-based photographers , while Kites from Kabul, a series of photographs of kite flying sights around Kabul and Bamiyan, provides an insight into the lives of children living in war-torn Afghanistan. (12)
As usual for Photomonth, there’s a staggering breadth of work on display, with subjects that push boundaries and defy categorisation. Zoo Logic by David O’Shaughnessy looks at captivity through photographs of the environments in which zoo animals are presented to the public, and Piotr Karpinski’s photographs of people doing strange things in morgues and graveyards view life and death with humour and originality.
Deciding where to go is perhaps the main drawback to Photomonth, but with the standards of exhibitions seemingly ever rising there’s a fair chance that whatever you choose will be a winner.