“It got me so excited…an incredible sense of accomplishment. In a way, that’s what got me through the dark times.”
For photographer Andrew Mason, the opportunity to showcase his own work in a London gallery for the first time proved such a life-changing experience that he decided to leave the banality of middle management behind to start his own photo exhibition.
In 2016, Mason – who now enjoys a successful career as a professional photographer despite a degree in genetics – took a leap of faith by booking a small gallery off Brick Lane and filling it with the work of 15 exhibitors.
His mission? Giving other enthusiasts from around the world, whether professional, semi-professional, independent or amateur, the opportunity to show their work at a high-profile location in the city. And maybe they too would feel that delicious “exhibitor pride”.
And so the London Photo Show was born.
In 2018, for its third year, the exhibition grew to the heady heights of the South Bank’s Bargehouse Gallery, and this new and larger venue was so successful that the exhibition has returned year after year, even during a global pandemic!
This year is no different. The London Photo Show will return to the Oxo Tower Wharf venue in just a few weeks in 2022. From October 13, up to 80 photographers can take their place at the heart of the capital’s “least demanding” art exhibition.
For Andrew, who now lives in Battersea after migrating south from his roots in Warrington, the show’s founding ethos is inclusivity, accessibility and personal fulfillment.
“For me, this is an event that celebrates photography as an art form, but it’s also about recognizing the wonderful feeling that comes from exhibiting your work for others to enjoy. I like to joke that the London Photo Show is the least flashy exhibition you will find in the capital!
“I remember in the first year of the show one of the cast came up to me and said, ‘Now I can call myself a real photographer!’ and that’s what it’s all about for me: pride, satisfaction and achievement. Anyone who wants to show their work can do so. We make this platform available to you at a reasonable price.
“There is an absolute visual hodgepodge for visitors to see – all genres will be represented, from portraiture, fine art, wildlife, architecture, fashion, nature, travel, sports, reportage and landscapes. It’s a really eclectic collection and admission is free for spectators.”
For a man so passionate about sharing the joy of photography, the 47-year-old is rather matter-of-fact about his gear. Every day you find a trusty Nikon D750 in your hand: “It’s a tool I use to get my job done – I’m not emotionally attached to it.”
However, he sulks a little when he talks about his father’s Agfa Isolette from the 1960s, which accompanies him on trips abroad: “It’s beautiful … a real vintage workhorse that has seen many corners of the world. In fact, it helped me capture the most breathtaking image of Jordan, which currently holds pride of place on my living room wall.”
Bargehouse Gallery, Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank, London SE1 9PH from 13-16 October. Admission free.
For more information visit: https://londonphotoshow.org/