Fairs Market United Kingdom

London photography fair has leading collector’s backing

Due to open in 2015, Photo London will be co-organised by arts consultancy Candlestar and Maja Hoffmann’s Luma Foundation

The Luma Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by the Swiss pharmaceutical heiress and contemporary art collector Maja Hoffmann, is backing a new photography fair due to open in London in 2015. Photo London, which will include around 70 international dealers and be based at Somerset House, is co-organised by Candlestar, an arts and culture consultancy. “Luma will support the collectors' and public programme,” says Michael Benson, a co-director of Candlestar.

“Our aim for Photo London is that it will be an annual celebration of photography… our ambition is that this will grow into a citywide celebration,” Benson says, adding that the organisers are in discussions with major museums, galleries and collectors about the collateral programme, details of which will be announced later this year.

“London’s major museums and galleries have become increasingly serious about photography, the number of London-based collectors has risen dramatically and the auction houses report strong sales,” Benson says, stressing that London is becoming the key international hub for collectors of photography worldwide.

The established London photography dealer Michael Hoppen welcomed the move. “I think it’s a great idea as long as they start by keeping it small and high quality; another big fair is not what the market needs,” he says. “We hope to participate but it will depend on the size of the fair and very importantly, what date they select.” According to the official website, the fair is scheduled to take place 21 to 24 May 2015.

Previous photography fairs held in London have folded, however. Photo-London, a namesake fair that is not connected to the new event, launched in May 2004 at the Royal Academy of Arts’ Burlington Gardens space. In 2006, Reed Expositions France, the company behind the Paris Photo fair, acquired Photo-London. It ran one edition of the fair in the spring of 2007 at Old Billingsgate market, but no further editions of the fair were held.

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