British photographic history

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The Hyman Collection. Annual Update. 01. Spring 2016

A year ago, in Spring 2015, we launched www.britishphotography.org to showcase our private collection of British photographs and to use the collection as an educational resource. Since then we have acquired several hundred additional photographs by, among others, Ian Berry, John Blakemore, Jane Bown, Bill Brandt, Mat Collishaw, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Fay Godwin, Bert Hardy, Paul Hill, Susan Hiller, Colin Jones, Dafydd Jones, Chris Killip, Neil Libbert, Daniel Meadows, Paul Nash, Edwin Smith, Jo Spence and Homer Sykes.

We have also continued the process of making the collection available on line by adding a significant number of new works to the website.

Where possible we continue to acquire substantial bodies of work and we are delighted to have recently made one of our most significant acquisitions: the entire Daniel Meadows touring exhibition, Daniel Meadows. Early Photographic Works, consisting of over one hundred and thirty works, including framed photographs, screen projections and digital films. This acquisition follows other substantial purchases that include an important group of conceptual self-portraits by Susan Hiller; the entire Anna Fox touring exhibition, Cockroach Diaries and Other Stories; over four hundred photographs and contact prints by Jo Spence and Terry Dennett; and fifty vintage prints of Dafydd Jones's era defining photographs of high-society in the 1980s.

We also commissioned a major new series of photographs by Andrew Bruce and Anna Fox entitled Spitting, a response to the original Spitting Image puppets of Margaret Thatcher and her government ministers that are in our collection.

Sadly, in the year since we launched the website the climate for photography in Britain has worsened: Birmingham Library has closed the inspiring photography department run by Pete James and his colleagues; The National Media Museum in Bradford has announced the end of its commitment to photography; the fate of the Media Space at the Science Museum is uncertain; and Tate Britain remains without a curator of British Photography.

However, we continue to do what we can: acquiring photographs, commisioning work, giving lectures, participating in panel discussions, building the website, and loaning pictures to exhibitions worldwide. We are also in discussions to tour the collection internationally and look forward to announcing other new initiatives in the coming months.

In addition to www.britishphotography.org we can also be followed on twitter and Instagram.

Claire and James Hyman

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