Exhibitions

Sony World Photography Award shortlists announced

Reading Time: 10 minutes
“The photographers we have selected who are part of the exhibition are the vanguard – they are the next generation,” says Brendan Embser, managing editor of Aperture. He’s talking about the professional finalists in this year’s Sony World Photography Awards, which he helped judge alongside three other photography experts: Emma Lewis, assistant curator, Tate; Liu Heung Shing, founder of the Shanghai Center of Photography; and Isabella van Marle, head of artist & gallery relations at Unseen Amsterdam.

The Sony World Photography Awards are divided into four categories – professional, student, youth, and open – which this year received over 326,000 submissions from 195 countries and territories. The shortlisted work will go on show at the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London, before going on tour around the world; this exhibition will also include a section dedicated to work by Nadav Kander, who has been awarded a prize for his Outstanding Contribution to Photography.

Tim Walker’s Wonderful Things

Reading Time: 5 minutes
A major exhibition of work by Tim Walker opens the V&A in London this September, including 10 new photographic projects directly inspired by items from the museum’s permanent collection

Lucas Blalock’s An Enormous Oar

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Shooting meticulously set-up still lifes on film with a large format camera, Lucas Blalock scans his images and digitally manipulates them, creating tricksy, mind-bending work that plays with the boundary between reality and fiction. Now it’s fashionable to talk about fake news, but Blalock got in early, poking holes in our trust in images. 

It’s earned him an enviable career, with books published by respected outfits such as Morel Books and Self Publish, Be Happy, and solo exhibitions at private galleries such as the White Cube. Now he’s got his first solo show at a public gallery in the US, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Los Angeles, where he’s showing images made since 2014. Initially he might have seemed part of a movement, but Blalock has carved out a career on his own. 

Massimo Vitali: Short Stories

Reading Time: 3 minutes
“For me the beach is the perfect place to observe people,” wrote Massimo Vitali on his blog back in July 2018. “In other words, we go to the beach to take pictures of people, not to take pictures of the beach. The beach is the most suitable place to observe human beings’ behavior, the existence of us human beings. How do people share the space on the beach, how are they staring at each other, or are they looking the other way? This is more important than geographical elements.

His new series, Short Stories, features plenty of beach scenes, often shot in his native Italy. Born in Como in 1944, Vitali studied photography at the London College of Printing and worked as a photojournalist in the 1960s and 70s before becoming a cinematographer for TV and film in the early 1980s. He started to shoot large format photographs in 1993, finding fame with his work Beach Scenes in 1995. He’s also shot crowds in other landscapes though, including in nightclubs, and the new portfolio includes these other social spaces as well as beach scenes.

The NPG “not to proceed” with a £1m Sackler Trust donation

Reading Time: 4 minutes
London’s National Portrait Gallery is no longer taking a £1m gift from the Sackler Trust, amid growing controversy over the trust’s links to Purdue Pharma – makers of the OyxContin prescription painkiller which has been linked to the opioid crisis.

The £1m gift was to support the gallery’s Inspiring People initiative, a £35.5m project which would see the biggest-ever building development of the gallery since it opened in 1896. The NPG has stated that it has jointly agreed not to proceed with the gift with the Sackler Trust, and has issued two statements.

“The Sackler Trust has supported institutions playing crucial roles in health, education, science and the arts for almost half a century and we were pleased to have the opportunity to offer a new gift to support the National Portrait Gallery,” reads the first statement, from a Sackler Trust spokesperson. “The giving philosophy of the family has always been to actively support institutions while never getting in the way of their mission.