V&A focuses on photo history with new centre

The history of photography with some of the most iconic images ever taken as well as the earliest equipment are at heart of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new Photographic Centre.

There is also a spotlight on pioneering female photographers, from Julia Margaret Cameron to Linda McCartney.

The new centre, phase I of which spanning four galleries opens tomorrow (October 12), draws on the 800,000 prints held by the museum, including  images transferred from the Royal Photograhic Solciety’s collection, with work by 20thcentury masters such as Alfred Stieglitz, Irving Penn, and Martin Parr, and from the 19th century William Fox Talbot and Roger Fenton.

To mark the opening, the V&A has commissioned the German photographer Thomas Ruff, who has digitally reinterpreted photographs made over 160 years ago, alongside American artist Penelope Umbrico’s 171 Clouds from the V&A Online Collection, 1630 - 1885, 2018, the first work to feature on the Light Wall.

“The transfer of the historic Royal Photographic Society collection provided the catalyst for this dramatic reimagining of photography at the museum” said Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A. “Our collection – established 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 provides 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.”

Images copywrite Will Pryce



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