V&A photographs gallery

Circe by Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-79) c.1865. V&A images

Did you know that the V&A was the first museum in the world to collect photography? It was founded in 1852 with profits from the 1851 Great Exhibition and started collecting photography in 1856 (the medium was only officially invented in 1839). Over 150 years later, it now has over half a million photos, so it must have been a hard task choosing only 80 to fill this new and rather compact photographs gallery. For a dip into some of the best known photographers and a chronological survey of the history of photography, though, it’s a great place to start. There are early pictures from 1839 to a nude by Bill Brandt, Diane Arbus’ Twins, Lee Miller by Man Ray, motion pictures by Eadweard J.Mubridge, a Vogue fashion picture by Irving Penn, a stunning icy image by Herbert George Ponagu, the official photographer for Captain Scott’s final voyage and a landscape by Ansel Adams. Plus there are two ‘In Focus’ sections on Henri Cartier-Bresson and Julia Margaret Cameron. The latter had her first exhibition at the V&A in 1865 and had her studio on site. The In Focus sections will change every few months though, so it’s a good gallery to return to from time to time.

New photographs gallery at the V&A
V&A, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
— Francesca
27th October 2011

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