I had the opportunity to go to Photo London this year.  Wow, I found the whole experience inspirational,  informative and completely inspiring. I spent threes days

I was practically taken with Diane Markosian’s work and how she talked about her projects. It seems to me that her work is her life and that personal projects she undertakes turn into commissions. She did not really distinguish between personal projects and assignment from Magnum when questioned upon this by someone in the audience her response was to say that it was nice to gain feedback. One thing that struck me about her work was the sense of emotional and personal involvement. Although her subject matter was diverse, the underlining theme to her work was family, loss and coming to terms with struggles. I was also interested in seeing the range of outputs and formats that each project and how these differ. There was a sense of development and growth during each body of work, Markosian does not have a fixed idea of how each project might evolve until she is immersed in the making process. This fluidity of her practice means that the intended outcome of projects may change during the creation, several times, from photography, installation, to even the process of bettering peoples lives and creating a memorial within their homes. Markosian has several homes and works on numerous projects at one time.

My overall experience of Photo London was positive, however, if you go, I would advise you not to try and fit going to Summerset House in just one day. I found trying to take in all the exhibitions, catch up with friends and visit galleries a little over whelming. By about 4pm on Thursday, I found myself just walking around Somerset House being unable to absorb the work I was viewing, I will definitely be going next year but I will be a two-day ticket.I found the differing modes of presentation interesting. I have always been quite conventional in my approach to showing work but the use of full bleed images, different coloured wall, frames, varying sizes and numbers gave me an insight into alternative ways to present and display work, I am hoping this will help me with my MA interim exhibition.

I also the Deutsche Borse Photography exhibition at the Photographer Gallery demonstrated how one space could display such diverse work within on area. I found the Sophie Calle exhibition of particular interest as she used lots of alternate modes to show her work. If you don’t know her work, she is a conceptual artist but uses a variety of different medium to express her work.  Her use text seemed particularly was of importance in this exhibition, in many aspects it seemed to be more prominent than the images. There was also a mixture of large scale images, sculpture type work and small intimate postcards that you have to take time to read. The use of quotations on the wall also invited the viewers to extracts of her thoughts while also encouraging you to want to read the full text presented. After my initial confusion and resistance to explore Calle’s work, I can now honestly say that I find it interesting, emotive quite clever and humorous in places. I would definitely go and see any future exhibitions of her work.

Also at the Photographers Gallery was the work by Dana Lixenberg, subsequently she actually won the Deutsche Borse prize (I’m sure my vote helped!) This work really reminded me of Mary Ellen Mark’s  project ‘Streetwise.’ If you have not seemed it you must. What I found powerful about this work, was the period of time the photographer took to make the work. The emotion content became more profound by the revisiting of families and the subtle way Lixenberg portrayed these changes. Images of residence were displayed next to the children taken at similar ages and of the subjects a decade later. The exhibition was accompanied by a book and a sound installation of the residences conversations. I spent some time listening to this while viewing the book. I became quite emotional when I saw studies the image of Tony 1993, then realised the photograph next to him was his memorial over 10 years later. These delicate touches and modes of display created an indirect narrative about the communities hardships and losses.

Work from Somerset House that I found practically inspiring was Matt Wilson’s. I think this experience was enhanced as I spoke to the photographer personally. I found out that he started off as a commercial photographer but got disheartened with the lack of control with commercial work. His works centres around the family, the everyday and vernacular imagery. The tonality and mood of his images, even different project all seem to flow and a sombre yet calm mood. He has created a book called “This Place Called Home”

“A century later, Yepraksia can’t help but cry when recalling the events of 1915. “You’re lucky you didn’t see it,” she says. © Diane Markosian

Tony, 1993, from Imperial Courts 1993–2015 © Dana Lixenberg

Right Through Me, The Place Called Home © Matt Wilson