GPN ‘Looking the Other Way’ at the Espacio Gallery London E1

GPN ‘Looking the Other Way’
The annual exhibition of the Gay Photographers Network
Art to Wildlife; large-format high-gloss photography to intense abstraction, GPN’s exhibition showcases the huge diversity of talent in this group. 30 photographers are exhibiting this year. GPN’s show is part of Photomonth, the East London Photography Festival.

As well as much excellent photography with a homoerotic angle, there is specifically gay photography here, exhibits with special meaning to the gay community: among these Johann Gay’s tributes to famous paintings including “The Sleep of Endymion” and “Gabriel d’Estrées and one of his brothers”, political photography in the series “Pride Matters” from D3MOLA and the very accomplished studio photography of Michele Martinoli in her series “Oppression of Women”..

James M Barrett shows three fantastic large format black and white portraits from his series #harshandbeautiful, facial hair and tattoos a-plenty.
Graham Martin shows just two shots, contrasting in technique; one, a carefully staged studio portrait and the other, an opportunist street shot “Man in Thames”, featuring a guy proudly walking in to the water in white underwear.
David Cook’s intensely personal, thoughtfully-composed images.
Bob Jezzard’s super-detailed bird photography.
Sokari Higgwe’s large abstract prints, an intriguing new direction for him based on his expertise in architectural photography, images placed adjacent to Nckolai Volobuyev’s work, an obscured portrait with a bag of shredded images hung in front of it. He describes this as representative of the obsession with the ‘perfect photo’ of how we see ourselves and how we want others to see us.
Also in the abstract band in the rainbow, Geoff Tinley’s beautiful objects, beautifully photographed in extreme close-up; and Jon Armour’s fine art using photography as his medium, either output to screen or to paper.
So much more in this space over two floors. Adult content warning before passing downstairs, there’s a locker-room installation by HAWT photography on the landing.
It’s still slightly charming and quaint to see the care and craft in producing photographs for hanging in frames in a gallery rather than seeing images on a screen, although I don’t wish to rehash the old old topic of whether photography is ever art. Either way, there are more than enough good quality, careful images here to make a visit worthwhile. GPN should be proud.
And to declare my interest, I’m a member of this approachable and eclectic group. It’s as much about supporting each other as photographers who are gay as making gay photography.

GPN ‘Looking the Other Way’, the annual exhibition of the Gay Photographers Network.
Continues at the Espacio Gallery, Bethnal Green Road, London E2 until the end of this week.