Centrefold: City of angles: An unassuming photography show offers rare insight into London Life

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Indy Lifestyle Online
A small but perfectly formed photographic exhibition has passed almost unnoticed this summer. Detailing the changing face of the capital, 'The London Show' spans a century of the private and public lives of Londoners and explores their relationship with the metropolis.

'The London Show' is Zwemmer Fine Photographs' first group show since opening nearly six months ago and curator Francis Hodgson has chosen a varied and sometimes bizarre mix of prints. Careful to avoid, as Hodgson puts it, 'endless cute pictures of red London buses', the exhibition caters for every taste. Both the serious collector and those briefly diverted from an afternoon's shopping will appreciate images ranging from classic 1930s street scenes to Corinne Day's portrait of an exhausted twentysomething, crashed out in an impersonal Notting Hill bedsit.

Unlike the more fastidious galleries which show work in chronological order, Zwemmer juxtaposes prints which have contrasting colours and shapes. Colour-saturated modern prints clash with classic black-and-white period pieces; the curve in one print continues a shape in a completely different set; references are transferred from one sequence of images to another.

The minutiae of Londoners' lives are captured beautifully, from a milk bottle on a doorstep to 1930s dockers chatting by the riverside slums. A shot of trees planted incongruously in the middle of a spartan office floor is placed next to Herbie Nott's glossy prints of supermodels at the London Fashion Awards.

The most evocative set has to be Donald Milne's Hotel series, which features solitary figures in sleazy, rent-by-the-hour hotel rooms. Filled with tawdry furniture, garish light and anonymous figures, the shots convey an uncomfortable sense of Nineties London.

The gallery itself is just one white airy room, a surprisingly peaceful place near the guitar shops in Denmark Street, with a large central table where you can sit and gaze at the work uninterrupted. And you can walk away with a classy memento too. All the prints are for sale from pounds 75 upwards, although you'd have to have a kind bank manager to get hold of one of Alvin Langdon Coburn's works, made at the turn of the century - a snip at pounds 1,200.

'The London Show', Zwemmer Fine Photographs, 28 Denmark St, WC2 (071-379 6248) to 27 Aug

(Photograph omitted)

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