Four new galleries make the museum’s centre the largest suite of galleries in the UK dedicated to a permanent photography collection. And new commissions, education and outreach add to the appeal, the V&A directors tell BJP
On 25 May the V&A’s Photography Centre reopens, after a huge expansion which has made it the largest suite of galleries in the UK dedicated to a permanent photography collection. With four new galleries added to the existing three, the Photography Centre now has 1000 square metres of dedicated space for photography, and a commitment to displaying and commissioning new work as well as showing off its huge collection of historical prints, books, and artefacts.
Two of the new galleries will feature global contemporary photography, for example, with the opening exhibitions including newly acquired prints by Liz Johnson Artur, Sammy Baloji, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Vasantha Yogananthan and Tarrah Krajnak, plus a large photographic sculpture by Noemie Goudal.
The other two new rooms are The Kusuma Gallery, dedicated to photography and the book, and Inside the Camera, on the history and use of the camera, and both have been created with an eye to interactivity. The Kusuma Gallery will house the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) Library, for example, and have photobooks available for visitors to access; its opening display, How Not to Photograph a Bulldog, is drawn from photographic manuals in the RPS Library. Inside the Camera will include a walk-in camera obscura, meanwhile, the precursor of all lens-based media.