The explosion of photography exhibitions across the country this year reaches its zenith with the hotly anticipated Foto8 Summershow. Now in its fourth year, the Summershow continues its trajectory as a consistently record-breaking event: 1000 entrants from around the globe contributed to a final count of 2,853 images to create London’s premiere salon de photographie.

We were delighted to receive work across many photographic genres, from wildlife to sport to fashion. The dominant genre was documentary photography, which, given the work we publish in 8 Magazine and on is not surprising. What was remarkable, however, was the quality of work submitted. Though it doesn’t seem possible, like national A-level results, the standard really does improve every year.  

Over a week in June, the 2,853 images were whittled down by the Foto8 editing team to 150. Choices were made, as they are each year, on single image impact alone – a click of the delete button and it was gone forever. The successful images hang floor to ceiling in HOST Gallery for a month this summer, giving you the opportunity to pick your own personal favourite, which in turn may stand a chance of winning the coveted People’s Choice award – and an Olympus PEN E-P2 camera to boot. Meanwhile, our illustrious judges, Richard Billingham, Charlotte Cotton, Emma Morris and James Reid selected an overall winner, announced at the wild street party that has come to personify the spirit of the Summershow itself, with the winner receiving £2,000.

In the final selection there are noticeably more portraits than last year, superseding large-scale landscapes so favoured by entrants last year. There is an absence of street photography, usually such a popular genre in open submission competitions, which we attributed to a heightened awareness of what constitutes excellence in this genre following the cluster of recent exhibitions and books. From all over the world, we bring you striking, memorable and moving images of conflict, love and death… and a hen in a purple jumper. That’s the beauty of the Summershow – the only limit is the imagination of the photographer.

The Summershow 2011 is on at FOTO8 Gallery from 9 July – 12 August.
The complete list of photographers exhibiting in the 2011 Summershow

For more information please see:

Click ‘captions’ to see photographer credits.
Original music Score composed by Gil Cang and Malachi Lillitos Ultraviolet Music

Above image © Annie Collinge