The Independent Art Fair has always had a bit of a maverick streak, which has generally served it well. In carving out a place of adjacency to the larger but therefore more predictable contemporary art fairs, it has consistently been more of a place of discovery than its art fair brethren, a venue where more risks (in the form of under-appreciated and lesser known artists and artworks, edited down by sharp curatorial eyes) could be taken.
Unfortunately, this has also often meant that there was very little photography on view. While we have visited almost all the iterations of the Independent, going back roughly a decade (we missed the first couple of years, but have been regulars since 2013), we’ve only found enough photography for a full, proper review a few times, the last being in 2015 (review here). In the years since, we have scoured each booth in the hopes of finding exciting or unexpected photography, but have often come away with only a couple of pictures worth featuring.
But perhaps these trends follow some obscure but naturally repeating cycles – last year was a bit thin photographically, and this year we were happily rewarded with a much fuller harvest of intriguing photographs to consider. Interestingly, much of what was on view this year was overlooked or rediscovered vintage material. This of course fits well with the larger movement across the art world to reexamine whose artistic stories are being told and to bring a broader range of voices into the conversation.
As is our custom, the slideshow below gathers together singular photographs found at the fair, starting with the booths on the first floor at Spring Studios, and then jumping up to the seventh floor and then working our way back down. Each image is supported by linked gallery names, artist names, prices (as available), and a short discussion or commentary.