Flowers Gallery is one of the longest-standing international contemporary art galleries in London, representing a roster of some of our generation’s most influential photographers, from Edward Burtynsky to Nadav Kander. At the helm of the Photo Department is Lieve Beumer, who has been with the gallery since graduating from the University of Amsterdam in 2013. This year, she will sit on the jury at the Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards. In anticipation of our submission deadline on August 31st, we caught up with Beumer.
What inspired you to join Flower’s Gallery, and what makes it a special and unique place to work?
“When I finished my Art History degree in Amsterdam, I had my mind set on going into the Art trade. London seemed like the perfect place to start this journey, and I was lucky enough to get an internship placement at Flowers Gallery. Flowers Gallery has been around for over 50 years and is known for having a dynamic program spreading over many different mediums and art movements. This gave me the opportunity to learn the many different aspects of working for a contemporary gallery, tapping into curation, art fairs, artist liaison, and selling work.
How has your role and the Gallery evolved since 2013, and how have you seen the photo industry evolve with you during the last few years?
“I started my time at Flowers Gallery as an intern and then was offered the role as front of house at our Mayfair Gallery. After helping at the Unseen photography fair in Amsterdam, I grew close with the photography team at Flowers and ended up working as the sales consultant for the department. I eventually took over as head of the department in 2018.
“The photography world has evolved immensely during this time. As a medium, it has grown into being one of the most vibrant and exciting environments to work in. Photography-focussed collections, institutions, and art fairs have helped build a strong infrastructure for artists to exist and excel in. I am incredibly excited to see it grow even more.”
Why is it important for you to address socio-cultural, political, and environmental themes with the work you exhibit?
“Photography at Flowers Gallery has always had a big focus on socio-cultural themes. This focus has given us the opportunity to exhibit work by amazing artists like Edward Burtynsky, Nadav Kander, Edmund Clark, the late Michael Wolf, Simon Roberts, and Scarlett Hooft Graafland. All of these artists explore landscape in unique and powerful ways, while addressing subjects like climate change, political censorship, incarceration, urbanism ,and societal impact on our planet.
“The department’s focus is also on artists working with material experimentation and conceptual practices incorporating installation-based work, performance, text and textiles, seen through the eyes of artists like Mona Kuhn, Esther Teichmann, Julie Cockburn, Tom Lovelace, John Maclean, and Lorenzo Vitturi. It’s this mixture of expressions that makes a strong department where inspiration can flow freely, and new ideas and concepts are encouraged.”
Might you tell us about one of your favorite exhibitions over the years?
“Before COVID struck and made physical exhibitions impossible, I really loved putting on the all-female group show titled ‘Her Ground’ using landscape as a thematic focus to consider relationships between genre and gender. Outside of the Flowers programme, I really enjoyed Lorenzo Vitturi’s solo exhibition at FOAM in Amsterdam and more recently was really struck by Heather Phillipson’s installation at Tate Britain.”
What are you looking forward to as a judge of the Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards?
“One of the best parts of working in the art world is seeing and discovering new work. I am excited to see how photographers are responding to the turbulent times that we have gone through. Societal change sparks creativity and I am looking forward to immersing myself in it.”
Submit your work to the Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards by August 31st for a chance to have your work seen by our industry-leading panel of judges. Prizes for single images include street exhibitions in NYC and LA, and prizes for series winners include gallery shows in Paris and Berlin. Lieve Beumer will be one of our judges for the series category. Learn more by visiting our website.