London’s galleries offer something for every photography lover, whether they’re an avid digital enthusiast or a fan of early daguerreotype prints. Culture Trip picks the very best photography galleries in London where you can experience legendary names and discover emerging talent.
In October 2018, the V&A opened their dedicated photography centre on level 3 in Room 99 and The Bern and Ronny Schwartz Gallery. Designed by David Kohn Architects, it’s the first phase of the museum expanding the displays of their coveted photography collection which includes 800,000 photographs. From pioneering female photographers, including Julia Margaret Cameron and Cindy Sherman to 20th-century greats like Alfred Stieglitz and Walker Evans, the new centre presents an eclectic array of prints and archival material charting the development of photography.
Tucked just off Piccadilly, Huxley-Parlour Gallery focuses on photographers who have played a significant role in art history and shaping the field of photography. Formerly Beetles+Huxley, the gallery represents many influential photographers and estates, presenting exhibitions by leading artists including Cecil Beaton, Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Davidson, Joel Meyerowitz, Alec Soth, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Steve McCurry and Vivian Maier.
If photography is more your thing, head over to the Photographers’ Gallery, which showcases some of the best established and up-and-coming names in the field. Being the largest public gallery in London dedicated solely to photography, you can expect to find a treasure trove of historical photographs of London and beyond, as well as fantastic exhibitions such as Tamas Dezso’s Notes For An Epilogue,on until June 13th, which attempts to capture the rapidly disappearing worlds of Hungary and Romania.
One of the earliest specialised photography galleries in London, Hamiltons, founded in 1977, offers novel perspectives on some of the giants of 20th century and contemporary photography. In a striking exhibition space, the likes of Don McCullin, Irving Penn, Nobuyoshi Araki and Annie Leibovitz have had their work displayed. With a reputation for representing the true masters of the field, it is unsurprising that the gallery’s exhibitions never fail to reflect a striking level of prestige.
Based on a quiet street in Chelsea’s upmarket district, the Michael Hoppen Gallery has been specialising in all forms of photography for over 20 years. The ground floor showcases exhibitions from world-renowned contemporary photographers chosen or represented by Michael Hoppen, such as William Klein’s striking photojournalism and editorial pieces which frame the open space. The staircase up to the second floor gallery is wallpapered with nostalgic features and reviews of celebrated exhibitions over the years, leading to a reading room displaying exhibits from the likes of Peter Beard around a well-stocked reference library. The gallery represents a long list of artists, covering fine art, wildlife, journalism, fashion and many other forms of photography, and it is well worth stopping by to sample what’s currently on show or to purchase unusual prints from some of the world’s best photographers.
Just a short walk down King’s Road is Iconic Images (formerly The Little Black Gallery), a gallery dedicated to historic photographic archives. From striking imagery of political figures to music icons, the gallery presents iconic photographers, including Norman Parkinson, Terrence Donovan, John Swannell and the best of Terry O’Neill, the British photographer who made his name shooting the stars of the 1960s.
Atlas Gallery in Marylebone specialises in 20th century photography, photojournalism and fashion photography. Having celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014, the gallery continues to curate around six unique exhibitions each year, presenting the work of their represented artists, including Danny Lyon, Nick Brandt, William Klein, Arthur Elgort and Jimmy Nelson.