British photographic history

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Scottish National Portrait Gallery's new Photography Gallery

Just as when you thought it was safe to head to V&A's new Photograph's Gallery, the National Galleries of Scotland today announced upcoming exhibitions for 2012, including the first exhibition in the newly revamped National Portrait Gallery which opens to the public on 1st December.

The opening ‘masterpiece’ exhibition of the new Photography Gallery highlights some of the greatest works in the National Galleries of Scotland photography collection. Entitled Romantic Camera, it is the first exhibition within the new Photography Gallery in the refurbished Scottish National Portrait Gallery. It explores questions of identity, specifically the close relationship between romanticism and photography in Scotland. Over 60 works are included, ranging from iconic images by Adamson and Hill to new acquisitions being shown for the first time.

This exhibition suggests that rather than vanishing during the 1840s, the romantic impulse has been vital to the development of the medium, up to and including the present day. Romanticism emerged as a literary form in the 1790s and had a powerful impact on Scottish culture, particularly through the influence of the poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott. Photography in Scotland was born in Scott’s shadow and was profoundly shaped by his creative imagination. Characterised by nostalgic longing, nineteenth-century photographers hunted out traces of Scotland’s turbulent history or ranged across the landscape in search of poetic subjects.

Details of this exciting, new Gallery can be found here, and exhibition details here. This space will display a rolling programme of shows and exhibitions throughout the year. Looks like a great year for photographic history in the UK!


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