British photographic history

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Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present

The Art Newspaper carries an interview with the curators of the National Gallery's upcoming exhibition Seduced by Art. The piece also gives a wider perspective on how photography has been collected in Britain over recent years. The short extract below gives a flavour of the piece: 

Most strikingly, the National Gallery holds its first photography show, “Seduced By Art: Photography Past and Present”, this month.Why has the National Gallery taken this step now? “It is the right moment in that we are continuing to look at all the ways in which the European Old Master painting tradition continues to be relevant for artistic practice today in its broadest definition,” says Christopher Riopelle, the show’s co-curator. 

His collaborator, Hope Kingsley, a curator at the Wilson Centre for Photography, London, points out that photography at the National Gallery should not seem so novel, given that the museum’s first director, Sir Charles Eastlake, was also the inaugural president of what became the Royal Photographic Society, and his wife, Elizabeth, was an important writer on photography. 

“They were embedded in the nascent photography scene in London,” Kingsley says.The National Gallery’s show charts the effect of the museum’s collection on photographers in that early period, including French pioneer Gustave Le Gray and Julia Margaret Cameron, and on contemporary artists, including Richard Billingham and Martin Parr. 

“By choosing the very beginning of photography, the first 30 years, and the past 30 years, we can focus this as a specific and visually intense show rather than it being a diffuse survey of points at which photography and painting intersect,” Kingsley says. 

To read the full piece go to:

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