“Michael Benson”

Michael Benson: “Despite uncertainties, Photo London is stronger than at its outset”

As the third edition of Photo London prepares to open, Art Media Agency has interviewed its cofounder and co-director to discuss what’s special about this young fair… and the Brexit’s impact on the event’s future. An encounter. Launched in May 2015, the Photo London fair will be opening for the third consecutive year in the neoclassical salons of Somerset House, on the banks of the Thames, from 18 to 21 May. The event was launched by the company Candlestar, specialised in organising cultural events and projects and founded in 2003 by Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad. Candlestar is namely the organiser of the Prix Pictet for photography (seventh edition in 2017) and the Art Dubai fair. A film producer and writer, Michael formerly directed the gallery of the London Institute (today the University of the Arts London), for which he organised numerous exhibitions. Between 2011 and 2014, he also curated the exhibition of the Sony World Awards. Fariba Farshad, co-director of the fair, is a specialist in contemporary Iranian art and an exhibition curator.   Can you present us the main features of this 2017 edition of Photo London? We have 89 participating galleries this year, from 17 countries. This represents a slight increase compared to last year when there were 83 of them. We’re also welcoming ten publishing houses, which makes a total of 99 exhibitors. There were around 200 galleries that applied by sending in online applications. The selection committee’s criteria are based on three aspects. The main criterion is to offer something new. We expect galleries to either present new artists, or else the latest work from recognised or well-established artists, or else historic images that are gems. This year, the selection committee, which includes half a dozen photo and contemporary-art experts, was overseen by Philippe...

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