London Festival Of Photography Returns In June

A wide range of London’s most celebrated venues will play host to a world-class, city-wide celebration of photography, as the London Festival of Photography returns for its second year, In June 2012.
The London Festival of Photography champions the best contemporary photography, honours past masters and provides a space for discussion, debate, appreciation and learning. The festival brings together international artists at the cutting edge of photographic practices and provides an opportunity to bring previously unseen work to UK shores.
The festival is committed to preserving and celebrating photography as an accessible art form, important tool for communication and method to document and reflect on society and human behaviour. Of particular interest is street photography, documentary and conceptual photography projects.

The festival takes place throughout June and includes a diverse range of exhibitions, events, talks, walks and workshops. (with further events and workshops also scheduled throughout the year). Each year we invite photographers from around the world to enter a range of awards from which selected entries are exhibited during the festival.

See the Diary for the festival’s planned programme throughout the year.

The majority of events and exhibitions are located in and around King’s Cross and Bloomsbury. King’s Cross has a rich heritage as an industrial hub of London and new developments and regeneration are rapidly transforming it into a creative and cultural focal point, with media and arts organisations such as The Guardian and Central St Martins School of Art taking up residence in the area. St Pancras International will operate a 7 minute Javelin train to the Olympic Park in 2012.

Exhibitions and events will also take place in some of London’s finest institutions including the British Library, National Portrait Gallery, V&A, Tate Modern, King’s Cross Station and St Pancras International. Satellite activities will also happen across London.

The festival is produced by Shoot Experience, a community interest company with a successful history producing photography projects with major cultural institutions in the UK and overseas including the National Portrait Gallery, BAFTA and the British Council. In July 2011 the London Street Photography Festival was born, enabling Shoot Experience to unify its projects under one umbrella. Street photography was the natural focus for the festival as much of the organisation’s previous work focused on this method of practice. At the inaugural festival 30,250 people attended 14 exhibitions and 30 events in venues such as Tate Modern, the British Library and St Pancras International. The Observer and Culture Critic listed Vivian Maier, A Life Uncovered as one of the 10 best photography exhibitions in the UK in 2011.
Encompassing documentary, street and conceptual photography, the festival will be comprised of 18 exhibitions and 40 events, including workshops, talks and screenings. Exhibitions will vary in style and theme, as we are looking to present a comprehensive programme of photographic disciplines showcasing work from both established and emerging photographers.

The festival exhibitions will be focused around the King’s Cross, Bloomsbury & Fitzrovia areas, in venues including the British Library, Guardian Gallery, British Museum, Museum of London, V&A and Tate Modern among others.

The festival expects approximately 50,000 visitors to festival exhibitions and events.

Festival highlights include:


The Gaddafi Archives – Libya Before the Arab Spring
From the Human Rights Watch photographic archive, an exclusive view of never-before-seen images documenting the recent history of Libya through the reign of its most infamous dictator.

The Great British Public
This exhibition includes contemporary images from photographers working the length and breadth of the British Isles, documenting the daily life, work and rituals of the British in their many incarnations. A strong focus on street photography will be complimented by intimate documentary studies and portraits from a range of established practitioners including Peter Dench, John Angerson, Zed Nelson, Simon Roberts, and Magnum photographers Martin Parr and Chris Steele-Perkins, who will be exhibiting new work.

Beneath the Surface
An exhibition of Steve Bloom’s photographs from the 1970s, capturing a critical moment in the history of Apartheid South Africa to commemorate 35 years since the untimely death of Steve Biko. These images have not been seen since 1977, when they were exhibited internationally by the International Defence and Aid Fund for South Africa.


– Workshops include masterclass tuition by Chris Steele-Perkins (Magnum) and Jodi Bieber (2011 World Press Photo Winner)
– Nick Turpin is returning to deliver his hugely popular London to Paris workshop
– Tate Modern is hosting a screening of the film Edward Burtynsky: Manufactured Landscapes by Jennifer Baichwal, followed by a rare Q&A with Edward Burtynsky
– The V&A are hosting talks by Martin Barnes (Senior Curator of Photographs) and James Stevenson (V&A Photography Manager)


Maintaining strong links to street photography, the ultimate reflection of public life, the 2012 theme will allow the festival to expand and explore the changing boundaries between the public and the private, as both physical and metaphorical concepts, and the social consequences of these shifts. Considering the role of photography as a tool for documentation, expression and collaboration, the festival will present work responding to the theme in its broadest interpretation.

Topics will include:

  • photography as a means to reflect not only the external world but also the inner self of the image maker
  • the social media revolution and how it has overturned our ideas of personal privacy
  • the changing boundaries of public and private land, what this means for personal freedoms and the ways in which people inhabit these opposing spaces
  • the effects and ethics of putting a very private photographic image on public display
  • censorship of images
  • the democratisation of visual journalism and how the public have become mass purveyors of information                                                                             
London Festival Of Photography Returns In June