Issue #184  10/13/2011
V&A Museum Opens New Large Photo Gallery

London's Victoria & Albert Museum will open a new expanded photography gallery in October, according to a report by Michael Pritchard, (see: http://britishphotohistory.ning.com/profiles/blogs/exclusive-vampa-to-open-new ). The opening is scheduled for October 25th. The new gallery actually returns much of the space lost in a reorganization of the museum and loss of sponsorship of a larger previous gallery a few years ago.

The permanent new gallery considerably expands the space dedicated to photographs at the museum. According to Pritchard, the gallery's opening exhibit will be a selection of photographs by key figures of photographic history including Victorian portraits by Julia Margaret Cameron and significant works by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, Diane Arbus and Irving Penn. The gallery will chronicle the history of photography from its invention in 1839 up to the 1960s. The display will be re-curated every 18 months.

Temporary displays, primarily showcasing contemporary photography, will be shown in the V&A's existing photographs gallery. A broad range of works will be displayed in the new gallery, including the oldest photograph in the V&A collection, a daguerreotype from 1839 of Parliament Street from Trafalgar Square in London.

Other highlights will be an early cyanotype by Anna Atkins, a dramatic seascape by Gustave Le Gray, and a commanding portrait by Robert Howlett of Isambard Kingdom Brunel standing in front of the chains of the Great Eastern. Later works on display will include Curtis Moffat's camera-less photograph of a dragonfly (about 1925) influenced by Man Ray's pioneering style and the Milk Drop by Harold Edgerton.

There will also be two 'In Focus' sections, each featuring a photographer represented in depth in the V&A collection. The first will be dedicated to British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron and the second will present Henri Cartier-Bresson.