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Rosy Martin 'In Situ' from the series Immersion. 1939-20014


The LAF2020 edition of Photo50 has been curated by one of London’s most respected photography consultants and influencers. The writer, collector and gallerists, Laura Noble, has created Occupy the Void for the specialist section of the capital’s evergreen January art fair located in Islington.

Text: Mike von Joel | Images: courtesy Artists | Photo50


Sponsored by Genesis Imaging


22 - 26 January 2020


Born in Manchester 1974, Laura Nobel spent several years at The Photographers' Gallery before she established the independent Diemar/Noble Photography Gallery in London. She went on to found the L A Noble Gallery in 2012, launched at the Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam. The FIX Photo Festival, premiered in 2016, is produced and curated by Laura Noble. FIX Photo is an annual event, featuring curator led tours, artist talks, film screenings and a programme of workshops.

Noble’s 2006 book, The Art of Collecting Photography, has been described as ‘a triumphal mix of fact, detail, history and inspiration … has undoubted appeal for both the enthusiast and the serious connoisseur’. Nobel’s ability to engage the casually interested alongside the critical expert has served her in good stead (her mentoring is in much demand) and is the perfect profile to attract the mixed bag of annual attendees to the Business Design Centre.

Laura Noble has selected ten female photographers aged over 50* (both established names and artists in the early stages of their careers) for this fourteenth Photo50 feature. Occupy the Void showcases the work of these artists to negotiate a relationship with ‘the physical, psychological and ephemeral nature of space’ both in life and death. Noble creates three themes: how women occupy space; the psychological and personal view of space; and the notion of time and the abstract in space, to orientate the exhibition. Visitors will be encouraged to self-reference the experience and examine their own societal dynamics.

Noble challenges both the under-representation of women in the industry (only 15%) and a bias towards older women with an opportunity to consider new and never-before-seen works by these impressive talents (all are 50+) who conjure a surprising variety of imaging formats, both 2D and 3D, using traditional and non-traditional photographic solutions.

*Wendy Aldiss | Samantha Brown | Elaine Duigenan | Miranda Gavin | Elizabeth Heyert | Sandra Jordan | Rosy Martin | Mercedes Parodi | Danielle Peck | Kim Shaw



Sandra Jordan’s series Hidden Beauty examines beauty and space through the device of architecture, creating a visual expanse even in densely populated urban scenes. Whether photographing the expansive landscapes of the Arctic or crowded urban environments, Jordan seeks solitude and calm within her work. The unremarkable concrete buildings in her photographs often go unnoticed, despite being lived in by many. However, in Jordan’s eyes, they are full of enticing shapes and repeating units with their own individualities; like architectural portraits viewed ‘face-on’. Her stark, unflinching façades set against grey expanses of sky create space for the buildings to breathe in their environment, reflecting her belief that we all need space to ‘just be’.

Rosy Martin will be showcasing brand new works at London Art Fair, based on her relationship to the domestic space she occupies and the space that her parents left behind when they passed away. Martin considers how she occupies her own physical space in her London flat – her ‘nest’ that she has filled with items collected since 1981, some of which she kept from her parents house as they hold so much emotional significance.

Danielle Peck ’s Dreamland series is shot in Margate, a British seaside resort town that has seen highs and lows over the years. Covering themes of regeneration and nostalgia, the series goes behind the seafront to explore the private and public lives of both residents and tourists. These nostalgic interiors hark back to a seemingly simpler time, showing residents rooms in what was once a hotel, then a boarding house and later bedsits in varying states of disrepair. Now redeveloped, the interiors bear no resemblance to the glimpses captured by Peck’s lens.

Kim Shaw’s work analyses the areas that she can and cannot access through her critique of the art world and the void she inhabits (or tries to as a woman of a certain age). Known as the Shoebox Gallerist, Shaw creates her own shoebox size residence as an alternative to the places to which she has been denied entry in the past. For Occupy the Void, Shaw presents prints and sculptural representations of various arts venues, hanging both in large scale on the exhibition walls and in her own portable handmade spaces, which will also feature the works of fellow Photo50 artist, Wendy Aldiss.

Wendy Aldiss’ My Father’s Things is a deeply personal and heartfelt series, featuring 9,000 photographs of her father’s possessions taken after he passed away. The artist’s father, Brian Aldiss, was a famous science fiction novelist, and the exhibition shows his desk and bookcase strewn with photographs of his belongings. This piece of work was a way for Aldiss to cope with the upset and adversity of her loss, but also to celebrate his life and keep him connected to the space and surroundings.

Miranda Gavin’s Home Discomforts is a series of 35mm colour transparency photographs taken in the flat where Gavin grew up and where her stepfather sexually abused her. Taken in the unoccupied flat years after she moved out, the photos show the rooms in daylight with verses from her poem, Don’t Touch Me Like That, written on the walls. Gavin intentionally shot with light and shadow cast on the walls, breaking up the text and forcing the viewer to lean in closer to read it. By cleaning the space through burning sage, writing on the walls and photographing the interiors, Gavin reclaimed this void and the space of home, or at least gave voice to the abuse that had been kept behind closed doors.

Samantha Brown’s Botany of Silence combines her original documentary photographs of a demolished shoe factory with other source materials from social media, advertisements and archival images, to join together the past, present and future with notions of physical and narrative space. The photographs and 3D collages hanging from the ceiling of the exhibition are told through the eyes of a woman, with men omitted from the images to instead reveal old ruins of the factory. They look at the way in which the memories of these working women reside and still linger long after the doors closed on the factory.

Elaine Duigenan premieres brand new works, shown for the first time at this year’s London Art Fair, which reveal the fleeting existence of objects in space. Experimenting with numerous waxes and ways of ‘cooking’ the wax, Duigenan creates small bubbles which she captures before they burst. The resulting images are of tiny sculptures, which are both out of this world and part of it, preserving a space that barely existed and would normally live a complete but brief existence, held under threat until pierced.

Elizabeth Heyert’s The Sleepers is an intimate portrayal of how individuals and lovers sleep, exploring the physical space taken up when we are unconscious. Heyert challenges the idea that a portrait photograph is about the relationship between the photographer and the sitter by intentionally keeping her presence missing, observing rather than directing. Projecting her images onto the ruined town of Poggioreale in Sicily, Italy, which collapsed during an earthquake in 1968, Heyert invites the viewer to see the emotion as opposed to the superficial image of a naked body. Both the stone and the figures seem perishable and historical, but at the same time completely immortal. The images are displayed in the exhibition on wallpaper over 7m in length, giving the illusion of these people hanging by a thread.

Mercedes Parodi ’s You Will Always Be will be presented for the first time at London Art Fair 2020. It is an evolutionary series of photographic sculptures exploring the cycle of life, our passage through time and space, and the traces that we leave behind. The beginning of the series relates to our creation and the emotive, cerebral and metaphysical aspects of our existence. Then, centrally, it depicts lift-off as we launch into the unknown, and ends with the freeing of our energy, which will leave in this universe an indestructible trace of our unique essence.




22 - 26 January 2020 (Preview 21 January)

Business Design Centre,

52 Upper Street, Islington,

London N1 0QH




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