Summer Newsletter 19'

A look ahead at Michael Hoppen Gallery's programme
Aug 30th, 2019

The world of photography continues its march with even more images being uploaded, printed, emailed and looked at than ever before. Whilst this huge quantity of imagery vies for our attention on the many platforms we are now expected to look at daily, it is the true artists amongst us that win our undivided attention every time. Whether it is the visceral and extraordinary work that Paolo Pellegrin continues to make, or the highly creative exuberance that comes from the wonderful Tim Walker, it is clear that it is still photography which remains perfectly placed to react, record and embed images in our 21st century techno-culture.


Despite the technical differences of creation and delivery (photographs are no longer distributed on a bike called Pony Express!), its ability to inform and delight continues unabated. I don’t see any reason that this should not continue. Photography records history, time and emotion so perfectly. The fact that almost anyone can now make a picture with their phone or digital camera to express themselves, means that the ability for all to be involved in some way enriches our world. Mark Haworth-Booth, ex head of photography at the V&A, recently observed that we should be delighted that everyone now has a camera and that almost everyone also now takes pictures.


I do agree in many ways, and it has not happened with the pen nor the paintbrush – so photography should be thankful for this upper-hand. But I do still enjoy seeing and handling the actual print rather than seeing images on small screens and I believe photographs on paper are still amazing objects to behold. So taking the picture is only half the process. A digital picture on a screen is a poor relation to a physical print. The digital image is also fugitive and can disappear or reduce in quality quite dramatically. A beautiful print remains a beautiful object when observed and has a presence that is sometimes hard to describe.


The rest of this year is a very busy one and also for many of the artists we represent. Lucas Foglia has been shortlisted for Prix Pictet – we have had an artist in every year of this award, I am proud to say. Tim Walker’s show will open to great fanfare at the Victoria and Albert Museum in September and Eamonn Doyle opens at MAPFRE in Madrid in September as well. Another show I have recently seen and recommend is Richard Learoyd’s show currently up at MAPFRE in Barcelona. It is a beautifully curated and hung show, in the heart of the Spanish city.


Back at the gallery, we are making wonderful plans for our Wonderful People show by Tim Walker which will open at the gallery in late October and during September we urge you to come to our gallery in person to delight in the real-time experience of seeing a photograph in the flesh.


Despite the huge challenges that confront us all today, I feel very positive that the world of photography and art will help us digest even the most difficult scenarios we face. I sincerely hope that the gallery will continue to produce interesting shows for you to enjoy, made by the artists we represent, who I am sure will continue to create these fascinating diversions and alternative views of the world we live in - and in turn will hopefully end up hanging on a wall somewhere in the world to preserve that fleeting moment for posterity!