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12201077259?profile=originalWith the joining of the Royal Photographic Society Collection to its own the Victoria and Albert Museum now has one of the largest and most important photography collections in the world. Gain privileged access to the museum's collection and expertise by joining one of two upcoming photography evening courses:

  • History of Photography: Tuesday 2 October 2018-Tuesday 27 November 2018. The V&A has been acquiring photographs since the 1850's and the collection has grown to be one of the largest and most important in the world. Coinciding with the opening of our new Photography Centre, this course will present an overview of the history of the medium, taught by the team of specialists who care for this diverse collection. During sessions in the Prints & Drawings Study Room, you will have the opportunity to view up-close magnificent original works not currently on display, from rare early treasures by the inventors of photography to twentieth century masterpieces and cutting-edge contemporary pictures.
  • 12201077284?profile=originalFashion Photography: Tuesday 7 May 2019 - Tuesday 18 June 2019. Gain an overview of the history of fashion photography, from the blossoming of the medium in the early twentieth century to the modern day. The emergence of fashion photography as a distinct genre goes hand in hand with the burgeoning illustrated magazine industry. Publications such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar employed some of the period’s most celebrated photographers in the realm of fine art. As editorial shoots or advertisements, fashion photographs throughout history have helped to shape culture and reflect the dramatic changes in women’s roles.

These courses tend to fill very quickly and early booking is recommended. See full details here:

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12201079258?profile=originalPhotographs by four of the most celebrated figures in art photography will go on show at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery this summer in a major new exhibition, Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography, which comes to the city direct from the National Portrait Gallery.

Lewis Carroll (1832–98), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79), Oscar Rejlander (1813–75) and Lady Clementina Hawarden (1822-65) shared an experimental approach to picture-making and their radical attitudes towards photography have gone on to inform artistic practice ever since. Victorian Giants is the first exhibition to examine the relationship between these four ground-breaking artists. Drawn from public and private collections internationally, it features some of the most breath-taking images in photographic history, including many which, prior to the exhibition opening in London, had not been seen in Britain since they were made.

Oscar Rejlander was a Swedish émigré with a mysterious past; Julia Margaret Cameron was a middle-aged expatriate from colonial Ceylon (now Sri Lanka); Lewis Carroll was an Oxford academic and writer of fantasy literature; and Clementina Hawarden was landed gentry, the child of a Scottish naval hero and a Spanish beauty, 26 years younger.

While the four seem an unlikely alliance, Rejlander served as occasional mentor to Carroll, Cameron and Hawarden in different capacities. They maintained lasting associations, exchanging ideas about portraiture and narrative and although the four photographers developed distinctive styles, the overlap in their approaches has at times made it difficult to separate their output. Influenced by historical painting and frequently associated with the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, they formed a bridge between the art of the past and the art of the future, standing as true giants in Victorian photography. 

  • Amongst the highlights of the exhibition are Lewis Carroll’s photographs of Alice Liddell, his muse for Alice in Wonderland. Visitors will see Caroll’s much-loved images of Alice as a child alongside less well-known photographs he made of Alice years later, showing her as an adult. The exhibition brings together these works for the first time, as well as Alice Liddell as Beggar Maid, on loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 
  • Victorian Giants also features Oscar Rejlander’s famous picture, Two Ways of Life (1856-7), which used his pioneering technique combining several different negatives to create a single final image. Constructed from over 30 separate negatives, the work was so large it had to be printed on two sheets of paper joined together.
  • The exhibition will include seldom-seen original negatives by Carroll and Rejlander, offering a chance to see ‘behind the scenes’ as they made their pictures.
  • Visitors will be able to explore how each photographer approached the same subject, such as Cameron and Rejlander’s respective photographs of the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson and the images they made of scientist Charles Darwin, or when Carroll and Cameron both photographed the actress, Ellen Terry. The exhibition will also include the legendary studies of human emotion Rejlander made for Darwin, on loan from the Darwin Archive at Cambridge University.
  • Victorian Giants will also feature a selection of images which are accompanied by personal captions written by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. A Patron of the National Portrait Gallery since 2012 and an enthusiastic amateur photographer, The Duchess has written a foreword to the exhibition catalogue in which she discusses her interest in nineteenth-century photography, the subject of her undergraduate thesis while an art history student at the University of St Andrews.

Kirstie Hamilton, Director of Programmes at Museums Sheffield says: ‘We’re delighted to continue our partnership with the National Portrait Gallery with this exhibition. Victorian Giants is a fascinating celebration of how these artist’s radical approaches to image-making completely transformed photography. The remarkable stillness and incredible beauty in these works is truly captivating and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to show them here in Sheffield.’


Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography opens at the Millennium Gallery on Saturday 30 June and continues until Saturday 23 September 2018. Entry to the exhibition is free. 

A series of lectures and associated public events will be held alongside the exhibition.  Find out more here:

Image: Oscar Rejlander, The Evening Sun.

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12201076675?profile=originalIn October 1843 a package of cyanotype photographs was delivered to the Royal Society. It had not been donated by the inventor of photography William Henry Fox Talbot FRS (1800-1877), or the inventor of the cyanotype photographic process Sir John Herschel FRS (1792-1871). The collection of stunning blue and white photographs was the gift of a Mrs Atkins of Halstead, Kent.

Read more of Rose Teanby's blog with the Royal Society here:

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James Ross, photographer

While doing some research on the Scottish sculptor, Robert Forrest some years ago, I stumbled on an interesting reference to the photographer James Ross, in the minutes of the Directors of the National Monument on the Calton Hill in Edinburgh (just above the famous 'Rock house' where D. O. Hill and Robert Adamson first set up their business).

I placed the results of my research on my website here:

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Research: Bromoil process

The Bromoil Circle of Great Britain is compiling a list (at the moment very short) of any bromoil related archive collections in the UK. The secretary Brian Iddon would be interested if anybody has any information relating to the Bromoil Process or Bromoilists were work is held in any institutions,museums,libraries etc.

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Camera Work facsimile publication

12201074284?profile=originalCamera Work, the 115-year-old publication, is available to be read once again. Alfred Stieglitz published a photographic quarterly called Camera Work over a century ago. Original copies are rare, fragile, and very expensive.

It served as the mouthpiece for the photo-secession movement and introduced pictorialism to the world. Not only are the photogravures beautiful, but the texts, essays, and critiques are also worth reading. Emerging photographers, including Steichen, Robert Demachy, Gertrude Käsebier, Clarence White, and James Craig Annan as well as 19th century photography pioneers Hill & Adamson, and Julia Margaret Cameron grace the pages of Camera Work. The advertisements found on the last few pages of every issue remind the reader of a bygone era of early analog photography.

Very few people or institutions own original copies of Camera Work. Each time they are handled, the risk of damaging a piece of photography’s history is present. The greenish-grey paper used for the cover, and the bindings are extremely friable. It is not readily available to browse its content. The price original copies command makes it impractical for scholars and institutions to buy and to use them as teaching tools or for reference. The goal is to give access of its content to teachers, students, museums, libraries, collectors, and photography history enthusiasts.

Photographer and photogravure admirer Pierre Vreyen has published, for the first time, a high quality, affordable facsimile of all 50 issues. He incorporated high-resolution scans made from each original Camera Work plate and painstakingly reproduced each page as close to the original as possible. One can now read and appreciate every single page published by Alfred Stieglitz in his photographic quarterly. It took two years to digitize, clean, and color correct all 3924 pages and covers. The result of such meticulous work is a faithful facsimile publication. A bonus new issue, number 51, was created and is a table of content of all previous 50 numbers.

For more information, please visit

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12201079453?profile=originalCome and join photo historian Denis Pellerin for a free 3-D talk celebrating the life and achievements of Charles Wheatstone and the 180th official birthday of stereoscopy.

Charles Wheatstone started his professional career as a musical instrument maker and invented several instruments, including the Concertina. He was Professor of Experimental Philosophy at King's College London from 1834 to his death in 1875. On 21 June 1838, he presented to the Royal Society his newest invention, the Stereoscope, that enabled, even before photography was invented, re-creating the illusion of depth with two slightly different flat perspectives.

London: Kings College, Bush House
Thursday, 21 June 2018 
Book here

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12201073662?profile=originalThe exhibition provides a rich source of interest for understanding the 1970s and 1980s culture of radical film and photography that engaged with feminism, anti-racist protest, community activism and political struggle, and documented working class life and conditions.

It tells the fascinating story of Four Corners and Camerawork, two innovative cultural organisations characteristic of the radical 1970s and early 80s, whose work aimed to ‘demystify’  the process of film and photography and influenced a generation of practitioners. This included  the renowned Camerawork magazine, and Four Corners’ work with local, underprivileged young  people like Lil Warren and Ruhul Amin, who went on to have impressive careers in the arts.

It will include archive material and photographs from Daniel Meadows, Nick Hedges, Peter  Kennard, Mike Goldwater, Paul Trevor, Jenny Matthews, Ed Barber, Jo Spence, Susan Meiselas and many others, alongside exhibition posters, extracts from Four Corners’ films Nighthawks, Bred and  Born and A Kind of English, oral histories and an accompanying public talks programme. The collection’s visually inspiring and socially engaged material offers strong appeal to new, younger  audiences.

A new digital archive launches alongside the exhibition, bringing this little-known part of British  cultural history to general audiences for the first time. This includes all 32 issues of the renowned Camerawork magazine made available online for the first time. Loraine Leeson, Chair of Four Corners and early Camerawork contributor says: “I am delighted
that this significant work is at last being documented and made available to the wider public. The impact that Four Corners and Camerawork had on the UK’s independent film and photography sectors cannot be underestimated. Their work enabled many people from underprivileged and non traditional backgrounds to develop significant artistic work.

Four Corners Archive project is made possible by a grant of £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Over 50 volunteers have contributed to the project since 2016, gaining skills in archive research, digitization and oral history techniques. Stuart Hobley, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players,  this exciting project will explore and digitise an archive of work relating to 1970s and 1980s East End film and photography. HLF is pleased to support Four Corners as it strives to make the British history of community-arts movements more accessible to audiences.

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12201072669?profile=originalThis is an exciting opportunity to work with the MacKinnon Collection—an outstanding collection covering 100 years of Scottish photography (1840s to 1950s), jointly owned by the National Library of Scotland (NLS) and the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS). The Curator, working with senior colleagues, will be responsible for the care, display and promotion of the 14,000 works in this key collection. 

The Curator will be employed by and based at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (SNPG), part of the NGS, but also work with colleagues at the NLS. The post is funded thanks to a grant provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards the acquisition and promotion of the collection. 

The Curator will be expected to have an enthusiasm for, and developing knowledge of, photographs and photographic practice, with a particular focus on Scottish photography from the 1800s. 

The post holder will have lead responsibility for accessioning the works, and will work with colleagues across both institutions to provide access to the collection physically and digitally, 

See more here

Click here for full job description

Organisational structure.docx

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12201075854?profile=originalAn exceptional collection of historic photographs that captures a century of life in Scotland is to be shared with the public following a special collaboration between the National Library of Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland.

More than 14,000 images – dating from the earliest days of photography in the 1840s through to the 1940s – have been jointly acquired with support from the Scottish Government, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund.

The collection covers an expansive range of subjects – including family portraits, working life, street scenes, sporting pursuits, shops, trams, tenements, mountains and monuments. Until now, it was one of the last great collections of Scottish photography still in private hands.

The collection was put together by photography enthusiast Murray MacKinnon, who established a successful chain of film-processing stores in the 1980s, starting from his pharmacy in Dyce, near Aberdeen.

He said: “The collection covers the day-to-day lives of Scottish people both rich and poor, the work they carried out including fishing and farming, in order to survive, and their social life including sport and leisure. These were turbulent times what with industrialisation, shipbuilding, new forms of transport, the social upheaval caused by the First World War in Europe and the Boer War in South Africa. The discovery of penicillin and radiography heralded the development of medicine and the pharmaceutical industry in Scotland. I would like to thank all the people involved in acquiring this collection for the Scottish nation, and for their great efforts in making this acquisition possible.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop welcomed the public acquisition. She said “The MacKinnon collection is one of the most remarkable collections of Scottish photography and an invaluable resource for researchers, students and the wider public. I am delighted that £300,000 of Scottish Government funding has supported the acquisition, curation, touring and digitisation of this collection, preventing it from being broken up or sold overseas. Our rich cultural and artistic heritage plays an intrinsic part in boosting our economy and tackling inequalities. I commend the National Galleries of Scotland and National Library of Scotland for their achievement in ensuring that this unique collection can now be enjoyed by the people of Scotland, enabling the public to learn more about our fascinating early photography tradition.”

National Librarian, Dr John Scally said: “Scotland has a unique relationship with photography which dates back to the work of the early pioneers such as Hill and Adamson. This acquisition is akin to buying Scotland’s photographic album of 14,000 pictures and bringing it home, and together with the National Galleries of Scotland, we were determined to make that happen. I am confident that every Scot will feel a connection with these wonderful photographs and we look forward to sharing them with the public over the coming months."

National Galleries of Scotland, Director General Sir John Leighton, said: “This collection superbly demonstrates the important role Scotland had in shaping the history of photography. Our ability to tell this story is greatly enriched by this acquisition, and we look forward to the exciting partnership with the National Library of Scotland in making these artworks accessible to all.

Heritage Lottery Fund, Manager for Scotland, Lucy Casot, said: “Taken in the pioneering days of photography in Scotland, these historical images allow us to glimpse our ancestors going about their daily lives. Thanks to players of the National Lottery, this valuable resource has been secured for us all to enjoy. It’s a fascinating collection detailing what life was like and how that has shaped us as a nation.”

Director of Art Fund, Stephen Deuchar said: “We are proud to be able to support both National Library of Scotland and National Galleries of Scotland in acquiring Murray MacKinnon’s unparalleled collection for the nation. It is incredible to have these photographs join a public collection where they can be enjoyed for generations to come through their display and tours as well as digitally."

The photographs provide a visual record of how Scotland has changed physically, socially and economically since the 1840s.

Highlights include:

• More than 600 original photographs from the pioneering days of photography featuring work from David Octavius Hill (1802-1870) and Robert Adamson (1821-1848), James Ross (d.1878) and John Thomson (d.1881), Cosmo Innes (1798-1874) and Horatio Ross (1801-1886).
• Some of the finest work of Thomas Annan (1829-1887) and his son, James Craig Annan (1864-1946) including rare examples of their original albumen prints.
• Fine examples of the work of Scotland’s successful commercial photographers including George Washington Wilson (1823-1893) and James Valentine (1815-1880).
• Portraits of Scottish regiments from the Crimean War by Roger Fenton (1819-1869).
• A series of albums and prints depicting life in the main towns and cities from the late 1800s and early 1900s.
• Studies of farming and fishing communities in remote villages and hamlets.
• Scenes of shipbuilding, railways, herring fishing, weaving, whisky distilling, dockyards, slate quarries and other working environments.

The collection contains an exquisite view of Loch Katrine by William Henry Fox Talbot, who travelled to Scotland in the autumn of 1844. Talbot was the inventor of the calotype, a negative-positive paper process that was patented around the world, but, importantly not in Scotland, allowing for free use and experimentation. As a result, early Scottish photographers, such as Hill and Adamson and Ross and Thomson, were encouraged to take up the new technology, becoming key figures in developing its potential as both document and art form within its first two decades.

As the photographic medium evolved, Scotland once again was at the forefront when, in 1883, Thomas Annan and his son James Craig Annan secured the British rights for the previously secret process of photogravure. The photomechanical process created prints in large editions, revolutionising the publication and reach of photography.

While photography is known for its reproducibility, many of the artworks contained within the collection are unique, including daguerreotype portraits and hand-made albums. One such impressive example is the Fairlie album, consisting of family portraits and photographs by known makers including Julia Margaret Cameron. Using elements of collage, drawing and marginalia, the pages are a one-of-a-kind celebration of the Fairlie Family, from Fife. Reginald Fairlie was the architect of the National Library of Scotland building on George IV Bridge.

A major exhibition of the MacKinnon collection will be held at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery next year, with touring exhibitions around the country to follow. The entire collection will also be digitised over the next three years and made available online.



The collection was purchased from a private collector, who bought the collection from Murray MacKinnon.

Breakdown of funding for the acquisition:

  • Heritage Lottery Fund - £350,000
  • Scottish Government - £300,000                              
  • National Library of Scotland - £125,000
  • National Galleries of Scotland - £125,000                                
  • Art Fund - £100,000

TOTAL     £1 million

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12201074871?profile=originalA collection of rare early modernist photographs of American railroads to be exhibited at The London Photograph Fair, 19-20 May at The Great Hall, King's College, London.

On 19-20 May, the special edition of The London Photograph Fair returns to The Great Hall at King's College, adjacent to Somerset House. The fair, which coincides with Photo London, is the only established fair devoted to vintage photography in the UK. For this year's edition, Andrew Daneman will present a collection rare photographs of American railroads from the early 1900's.

It was a chance discovery. In 1977, the American photography dealer and collector Andrew Daneman came across a collection of more than 300 beautifully blue toned cyanotypes. The images were of American railroads, trains, wagons, bridges, warehouses, supply stores, tools, workers, stationmasters and their families. While some images were of a documentary character, many others showed the photographer's distinct modernist vision, with surprising angles, close-ups and abstractions, all the hallmarks of the modernist photography championed first by Paul Strand in 1916, then
followed by Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Charles Sheeler, Edward Weston and Walker Evans.

Except, the photographer couldn't possibly have been influenced by the aforementioned masters. There was enough information in these images to make clear that they predated them by at least 10 years. So why weren't these images part of the photographic canon? And was it time to rewrite it?

And who was the photographer? There were no signatures, stamps or identifying information on the back of the prints, except for a few inscriptions, linking them to Wilmington, Delaware. Following some skilled detective work, Daneman finally had a name, Frank Bird Masters (1873-1955). And then it also became clear why Masters had taken the photographs and why they hadn't been included in the history of photography. Daneman explains, "Masters was a highly skilled illustrator. He worked for advertising magazines, book publishers and magazines such as Scribner's and The Saturday Evening Post. He took photographs as inspiration for his illustrations so they were never used for publication or exhibited. In some cases he followed the photographs very closely. In others, he used only specific details for his illustrations."

The images give a fascinating insight into the American railroads in the early 1900s and the people who worked on them. Daneman concludes, "We see throughout Masters' photographic imagery an attraction to dynamic lighting and powerful angles. Even in his recording of these details, though primarily intended as studies, he never relaxes his formal approach to composition. The result is nothing less than modernist abstraction of the highest quality"

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12201071468?profile=originalWe are looking for a specialist to set up and lead a new photographs department within a thriving and expanding  Auction House.  Our client is aiming  to establish themselves in the middle market for the sale of photographs that span the history of the medium but which may initially focus on modern, post-war and contemporary photography.

The successful candidate will have an excellent understanding of photographs and the marketplace, and have the skills and aptitude to establish the department.

Areas of Responsibility

Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

Strategic and business development

  • Develop business contacts and strategic opportunities, including developing auction and private sales strategies
  • Identify and maintain relationships with all client categories (collectors, dealers, galleries etc), and particularly the ability to work with major clients in the consignments and sale of high value property
  • Liaise on material in the field with other internal departments: pre-press, marketing, public relations etc.
  • Proactively research and gather information into the marketplace/trends/buying & selling patterns

Valuations, cataloguing, pre and post-sale responsibilities

  • Analyse and respond to incoming written, phone and photo enquiries to determine sale potential
  • Work alone and with colleagues to determine provenance, authenticity, value, condition, and marketability of property
  • Write and prepare catalogue essays, work on catalogue production and layout, as appropriate
  • Coordinate pre-sale exhibition set-up
  • Work with buyers during sales, including weekend exhibitions, to market and sell the sale
  • Work with the Marketing team, to help develop a coordinated marketing plan to achieve budgeted sale totals
  • Participate in telephone bidding with clients during the auction
  • Participate in the full after-sales analysis, and implement any agreed changes


  • Ensure compliance with all internal policies and procedures and any relevant external bodies or processes
  • Participate in organization-wide meetings, activities and processes, and develop internal contacts, networks and interactions as appropriate
  • Actively participate in events, valuation days, and other functions to represent the client
  • Carry out other duties as required 

Person Specification

Essential skills and experience

  • Extensive experience in the field, either at auction, within the trade or at another relevant institution e.g. gallery or own business
  • Proven ability to develop relationships with the major collectors, dealers and galleries
  • Excellent writing skills in English, and ability to combine an understanding of the material with a commercial sense of marketing and promoting value
  • Excellent verbal communication and interpersonal skills, including first class spoken English
  • Ability to work to tight auction deadlines, balancing photography, cataloguing, sale organisation, marketing and promotional details
  • Experience working with on projects of all sizes, long- and short-term; demonstrated ability to prioritise a variety of concurrent projects
  • Excellent knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, Outlook etc)
  • Superior client service skills
  • Strong follow-up skills with attention to detail
  • Ability to thrive within a fast-paced team environment

Desirable qualifications

A qualification relevant to the field e.g. degree in photography, contemporary art, fine art

Deadline for applications 27 May 2018. See more here:

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12201072885?profile=originalSotheby's upcoming auction of photographs includes an album of rare early photographs of Oman and Iraq by Irishman Louis Maguire, a resident of Muscat in the 1870s who became United States Consul in 1880. This album was presented by him to fellow Muscat resident Colonel Samuel Barrett Miles, British Political Agent in the Gulf, in September 1885.

A complete set of Francis Frith’s mammoth photographs of Egyptian pyramids [c.1858]


A collection of eight photographs from Captain Scott’s final expedition:


A large collection of photographs of the West Indies from the 1860s to 1880s


The sale also includes topographical photographs of Malta, Siam & Cambodia, India, Japan, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Burma, Ceylon, and important photographs and photobooks on Mecca and the Hajj (301-304). 

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12201067071?profile=originalAfter much lobbying, and through the good offices of curator Anna Sparham and the Museum of London, the resource has returned. The A-Z listing of photographic studios and other photography trades in London 1841-1901, created by the late David Webb is now back online and available as an A to Z listing. It is hoped that the search facility will be restored at some point in the near future.

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12201076876?profile=originalThe world’s first photographic experiments, pictures by 20th century greats Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen, recent acquisitions by Linda McCartney gifted by Paul McCartney and his family, and newly commissioned works by Thomas Ruff, will go on display this autumn as part of the V&A’s new Photography Centre.

Opening on 12 October, the first phase of the Photography Centre, designed by David Kohn Architects, will more than double the space dedicated to photography at the V&A. The inaugural display will trace a history of photography from the 19th century to the present day through the theme of collectors and collecting. Drawn from the V&A’s significantly expanded holdings, following the transfer of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) collection, the display will show seminal prints and negatives by pioneers William Henry Fox Talbot, Julia Margaret Cameron and Frederick Scott Archer, alongside camera equipment, photographic publications and original documents to tell a broader story of international photography. It will also feature a digital wall to show the most cutting-edge photographic imagery.

To mark the opening, the V&A has commissioned internationally renowned German photographer Thomas Ruff to create a new body of work. Known for taking a critical and conceptual approach to photography, Ruff’s new series will be inspired by Linnaeus Tripe’s 1850s paper negatives of India and Burma from the V&A’s collection.

12201077087?profile=originalTristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, said: “The transfer of the historic Royal Photographic Society collection provided the catalyst for this dramatic reimagining of photography at the V&A. Our collection - initiated by the V&A’s visionary first director Henry Cole - now seamlessly spans the entire history of photography, telling the story of the medium from the daguerreotype to the digital. Our new Photography Centre will provide a world-class facility to re-establish photography as one of our defining collections. In an era when everyone’s iPhone makes them a photographer, the V&A’s Photography Centre explores and explains the medium in a compelling new way.

The entrance to the new Photography Centre will be through a spectacular installation of over 150 cameras. Nearby, an interactive camera handling station will offer visitors an understanding of how photographers view the world through their equipment. Inside the gallery, focused sections will look at a series of collections and collectors, including an important group of William Henry Fox Talbot’s cameras and prints; Pictorialist photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn’s collection of photographs by his predecessors and contemporaries; and a selection of some of the most significant photojournalism of the 20th century collected by Magnum Photos’ UK agents, John and Judith Hillelson.

On display will be over 600 objects from across Europe, the US, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The Photography Centre will feature images by early colour photography pioneers, Agnes Warburg, Helen Messinger Murdoch and Nickolas Muray, and recent acquisitions by Hiroshi Sugimoto, Cornelia Parker, Linda McCartney and Mark Cohen. A pioneering botanical cyanotype by Anna Atkins, images by the world’s first female museum photographer, Isabel Agnes Cowper, and motion studies by Eadweard Muybridge, will join photographs by some of the world’s most influential modern and contemporary photographers, including Eugène Atget, Man Ray, Walker Evans, Cindy Sherman and Martin Parr.

12201076663?profile=originalThe Photography Centre will feature the ‘dark tent’, a multimedia projection and lecture space inspired by 19th century photographers’ travelling darkrooms. Here, specially commissioned films revealing early photographic processes, including the daguerreotype, calotype and wet collodion process will be screened, along with a slideshow projection of rarely-seen magic lantern slides revealing the first attempts to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1921 and 1922.

The opening of the Photography Centre will be accompanied by a three-week spotlight on photography across the V&A, including a series of talks by leading photographers, screenings, events, courses, workshops and a Friday Late.

Situated in the V&A’s North East Quarter, the Photography Centre will reclaim the beauty of three original 19th-century picture galleries. It is part of the V&A’s FuturePlan development programme to revitalise the museum’s public spaces through contemporary design and the restoration of original features. A second phase of the Photography Centre, planned to open in 2022, will expand it further, providing a teaching and research space, a browsing library and a studio and darkroom for photographers’ residencies.

In addition, the first two titles in The V&A Photography Library, a new series of publications in partnership with Thames & Hudson, will accompany the opening. In September 2018, the V&A and Royal College of Art will launch a photography pathway as part of the History of Design MA programme. Students will learn about the history of photography through the V&A’s collections and expertise.

Following the transfer of the Royal Photographic Society collection in 2017, a new purpose-built storage facility has been created on site. When not on display, photographs can be viewed in the V&A’s Prints & Drawings Study Room. The V&A Photography Centre is supported by The Bern Schwartz Family Foundation and other generous donors. Upon opening, Gallery 100 in the new centre will be known as The Bern and Ronny Schwartz Gallery.


John French, John French and Daphne Abrams in a tailored suit published in the TV Times, 1957. John French Archive / Victoria and Albert Museum.

Benjamin Brecknell Turner. The Willowsway, Elfords, Hawkhurst, 1852. Albumen print. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 

Rudolf Koppitz. Movement Study, 1926. Carbon print. The RPS Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 

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