Donald Trump whoops into an iPhone lens, held at a distance on the end a selfie stick. He’s surrounded by Miss Kenya, Miss Syria and Miss Mexico, dressed in bikinis and smiling to camera, as the instantly recognizable white on blue stars of the American flag hang in the background. The back of Trump’s phone case is emblazoned with the phrase “Make America Great Again”. It may take a while to realize you are looking at an imposter, a fake Trump. The photographer, of course, is Alison Jackson. This image brings together the tension that is so powerful in photography, in its ability to create realities and to sometimes get closer to the truth through its subjective lens than we can with the naked eye. The real wonder in this image is the fact it doesn’t seem that unlikely, it can take a while to notice this isn’t our exact reality (it is certainly a very close version of it). On realizing it’s a fake, the searing takedown of Trump and his worldview is potent.
Jackson’s is one of many works on view at Photo London, which opens tomorrow at Somerset House. It’s a massive event for photography lovers and, this being a more accessible medium than many of the others, is a more open experience than many of the big art fairs, where photography is often in short supply. There are numerous exhibitions from big name photographers throughout the run of the event, with Edward Burtynsky, Darren Almond, Es Devlin and more presenting solo exhibitions throughout the commanding space.
There are some unusual themed shows too, including a group exhibition that explores contemporary Austrian photography, bringing together the work of Thomas Albdorf, Hanna Putz, Klaus Pichler, Stefanie Moshammer and Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek.
The event is a must for anyone who wants to understand a little more about the world around them, and to see the beauty within it that is often easy to miss.