Roderick van der Lee, a founder of the Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam, will become director of Photo London on May 20th, following the Fair's fifth edition at Somerset House, which runs this May 16-19 (preview on May 15th). Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad, the fair's founders will then create a new board that will be responsible for the ongoing strategic development of Photo London and related activities. The director will be responsible to the founders for the day to day running of the fair.
Roderick van der Lee was appointed following an extensive international search. He brings considerable knowledge and expertise to Photo London from his career in photography, having worked at the Foam photography museum in Amsterdam, as a founder and board director of Unseen Photo Fair, and having partnered with international photography institutions such as World Press Photo, PhotoEspana and Paris Photo. Under his direction, Photo London will continue its longstanding support for young galleries and artists with a focus on emerging trends and unseen work as well as celebrating established masters and exploring the future of photography. He will also oversee the acclaimed public program and the development of the Photo London Academy.
Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad, founders of Photo London, felt that this appointment was a natural first step in their plans to unlock what they called "the strategic potential of the Fair."
The fair has been floundering over the last few years with many international exhibitors just finding a lack of substantive sales at the show. The turnover of exhibitors has led numerous observers to question the ultimate success of a London fair, despite the well-run show and first-rate lecture program. Brexit will only add to the questions about the London market in subsequent years, depending on its outcome.