Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
At a special gathering 1000 guests attended the long-awaited opening of Media Space, previously the NMeM's London presence, at London's Science Museum. The new space is a joint venture between the Science Museum and National Media Museum. At the opening ceremony Michael G Wilson OBE alluded to the tortuous history that had culminated in last night's opening. He described the gallery development, first mooted 25 years ago and which had seen off six museum directors and the making of four Bond films as difficult. Wilson was presented with a Science Museum Fellowship in recognition of his determination in ensuring the project was realised. The current Science Museum Director Ian Blatchford deserves praise for committing to the project.
The opening exhibition Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr was stunning with Ray-Jones' work, particularly, retaining a sense of humour and incisiveness over the forty years since it was first made. Parr was showing rarely seen work from the mid-1970s that was clearly influenced by Ray-Jones. The show moves to Bradford in March 2014.
The gallery space is large, simple and plain. As such it offers the potential to become a must-go-to place when exhibitions, based on the National Media Museum's unrivalled collections, are shown. Ray-Jones and Parr are just the start future. Future shows dealing with science and colour will be more challenging and will do more to demonstrate the breadth of Bradford's holdings. The adjacent cafe area has the potential to become as popular as that of the Photographers' Gallery as a place for those working in, or just interested in, photography to meet. The fact that Media Space has a (modest) admission charge may temper that somewhat.
In the Virgin Media Studio space Universal Everything & You, a new specially-commissioned digital installation of two artworks by art and design collective Universal Everything, was stunning.
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