By its very nature, photography speaks to our relationship with time by capturing a single instant suspended in freeze frame for ever more, but a new show is going further in exploring that idea. Phoot50 runs every year at the London Art Fair (LAF) and for 2013 Paradise Row director Nick Hackworth has curated A Cyclical Poem in which eight photographers question the idea of change.
Nick admits that he thinks the LAF organisers probably expected him to put together a showcase of “young artists whose work intersects with photography.” But it was after coming across the “strong, affecting” work of the South African photojournalist Ernest Cole at the Barbican’s Everything Was Moving exhibition that he decided to do something quite different.
“So many images in our world are from the celebrity world and the spaces for documentary photography are rapidly diminishing, almost annihilated,” Nick told us. "This show is not about photojournalism as such but it is about the relationships between images, time and memory.
“In some cases the works are the result of the photographer returning to the same or similar subjects over a long period of time; sometimes the images are from one period but made in concert with the passing of time.”
And having set out this criteria, far from approaching young artists Nick ended up selecting eight photographers with long careers. From Homer Sykes’ images of English folk rituals to Ian Beesley’s documentation of the decline of manufacturing and industry in northern England and Chris Steele-Perkins’ personal portfolio to Marketa Lusacova’s shots of a Czech carnival, the quality and variety on show is superb.
Physically the space is sectioned off to allow visitors to welcome each photographer’s “thought-worlds” and despite the differing aesthetic styles on show, Nick says: “Walking through I think you make really nice emotional connections between the works.”
A Cyclical Poem at The London Art Fair runs until Sunday.