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So what's the most expensive shot ever? The best photography shows of 2018

 Amazon, 2016.
Bookish … Gursky’s photograph Amazon, 2016. Photograph: Andreas Gursky/DACS/Sprüth Magers

Andreas Gursky

Rhine II, 1999/2015, which sold for £2.7m in 2011.
Rhine II, 1999/2015, which sold for £2.7m in 2011. Photograph: Andreas Gursky/DACS/Sprüth Magers

The Hayward reopens after a two-year refurbishment with the first British retrospective devoted to the German photographer whose large-scale, minutely detailed images of workplaces, nightclubs and natural landscapes are made with computer-enabled post-production techniques. His digitally altered landscape, Rhein II, sold for £2.7m in 2011, the most expensive photograph ever. Love him or hate him, his image-making has attained a new resonance in our post-truth world.
• 25 January-22 April, Hayward Gallery, London.

Deutsche Börse photography prize

Mathieu Asselin’s Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation.
An indictment of corporate power … Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation. Photograph: Mathieu Asselin

Two names to watch on the shortlist are Mathieu Asselin and Luke Willis Thompson. The former’s book Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation is a powerful indictment of corporate power and ecological irresponsibility, while Thompson’s 35mm film, called Autoportrait, was made in collaboration with Diamond Reynolds, who broadcast on social media the moments following her partner Philando Castile’s fatal shooting by a police officer in Minnesota. Both speak forcefully about the turbulent times we live in.
• 23 February-3 June, Photographers’ Gallery, London.

Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins

One of the ‘hyena handlers’ that Pieter Hugo met in Nigeria, from his series Hyena and Other Men.
One of the ‘hyena handlers’ that Pieter Hugo met in Nigeria, from his series Hyena and Other Men. Photograph: Pieter Hugo

In this group show tracing aberrant and outsider youth cultures since the 1950s, the themes are gender, sexuality, drug-taking, gangs and rebellion. A chance to see Bruce Davidson’s seminal series Brooklyn Gang, alongside Jim Goldberg’s Raised by Wolves, a visceral chronicle of homeless teenagers on the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Pieter Hugo, Dayanita Singh and Mary Ellen Mark also appear .
• 28 February-27 May, Barbican, London.

Antoine d’Agata: Self-Portraits and Night Journeys

Wilfully confrontational … d’Agata’s image France, Marseille, 1997.
Wilfully confrontational … d’Agata’s image France, Marseille, 1997. Photograph: Antoine d' Agata/Magnum Photos

A solo show for the maverick French photographer who specialises in performative photography, often of a transgressive nature. Here, a selection of self-portraits spanning the last 30 years is exhibited alongside more recent work made in Mexico that traces his sexual and narcotic encounters with those living on the margins. Visceral, disturbing and, for some, ethically questionable, D’Agata’s work is wilfully confrontational.
• 22 March-30 April, Magnum Print Room, London.

At Altitude

5000 Feet is the Best, 2011, Omer Fast.
5000 Feet is the Best, 2011, by Omer Fast. Photograph: GB Agency/Arratia Beer

From early aviation pioneers to Google Earth and drone surveillance, At Altitude explores how the Earth has been photographed from above, as well as the social, political and cultural inferences of new technologies that allow us to see ourselves – and be watched – as never before. Omer Fast, Wolfgang Tillmans and Mishka Henner are among the contemporary artists included in a fascinating, timely exhibition.
• 28 April-15 July, Towner Gallery, Eastbourne.

This article titled "So what's the most expensive shot ever? The best photography shows of 2018" was written by Sean O'Hagan, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 3 January 2018 06.00am

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