If you’re into photography you need to visit this soon

V&A Photography Centre opens the largest suite of galleries in the UK dedicated to a permanent photography collection.
Blast #5707, by Naoya Hatakeyama, taken in 1998. C-type print mounted on aluminium. Copyright: Naoya Hatakeyama

The V&A has recently opened it Photography Centre, the most extensive suite of galleries in the UK dedicated to a permanent photography collection. Spanning global contemporary photography from cutting edge commissions to interactive displays and themed galleries showcasing the rich breadth and history of the collection, the seven galleries enable visitors to experience photography and its diverse histories in new way.

Highlights of the opening displays comprise recent acquisitions exhibited at the museum for he first time, including works by celebrated contemporary photographers Liz Johnson Artur, Sammy Baloji, Vera Lutter, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Tarrah Krajnak and Vasantha Yogananthan, as well as a monumental photographic sculpture by Noémie Goudal. Two major new commissions supported by the Manitou Fund have been unveiled: a photographic series by leading Indian photographer Gauri Gill, and a digital commission by British media artist Jake Elwes, who has explored the use of deepfake technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) with a drag cabaret performance.

The breadth of subject matter explored by these international artists includes identity, race, sexuality, and climate change, together with a wide range of technical approaches and practices. Other new spaces include a room dedicated to Photography and the Book, housing the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) Library, spectacularly installed on floor-to-ceiling helves. The small display within this room, How Not to Photograph a Bulldog, is a light-hearted foray into one of the many topics covered by the photographic manuals in the RPS Library. Additionally, an interactive gallery about the history and use of the camera features a walk-in camera obscura.

The Photography Centre also presents new, themed displays beginning with Energy: Sparks from the Collection. This display examines the many kinds of energy in photography, both the
hidden processes intrinsic to creating a picture, and the subjects in front of the camera. Featuring around 200 works from the 1840s through to the present day, the display demonstrates how power in all its diverse forms has sparked the imaginations of photographers. Highlights include some of the earliest photographs by William Henry Fox Talbot, as well as works by Richard Avedon, Brassaï, Henri Cartier Bresson, Joana Choumali, Naoya Hatakeyama, Dorothea Lange, Man Ray and Jo Spence.

The Photography Centre is situated in the V&A Museum’s Northeast Quarter, London.

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