Drawn by Light: The Royal Photographic Society Collection @ The Science Museum

mickyates B&W, London, Photography, Travel, United Kingdom, Writing 0 Comments


If you haven’t yet been able to see this exhibition, and you are a photographer, then please make this a New Year resolution. It’s at the London Science Museum, until March 1st, 2015.

It’s not just a collection of nice images. It literally traces the history of photography with a unique eye. And whilst it is focused (pardon the pun) on the images, the exhibition also allows visitors to ponder camera technology development, too – not in technical terms, but by showing what the cameras could do.

To quote the website:

Founded in 1853, the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) Collection is now held at the National Media Museum, Bradford as part of the National Photography Collection. With over 250,000 images, 8,000 items of photographic equipment and 31,000 books, periodicals and documents, it’s one of the most important and comprehensive photographic collections in the world.

Early photographers such as Roger Fenton (co-founder of the RPS), William Henry Fox Talbot and Julia Margaret Cameron are represented, alongside modern photographers such as Don McCullin, Terry O’Neill and Martin Parr. Nièpce’s heliographs and Fox Talbot’s experimental cameras are also on display.

“… photography … is used alike by art and science, by love, business, and justice; is found in the most sumptuous saloon, and in the dingiest attic – in the solitude of the Highland cottage, and in the glare of the London gin-palace, in the pocket of the detective, in the cell of the convict, in the folio of the painter and architect, among the papers and patterns of the mill owner and manufacturer, and on the cold brave breast on the battle-field.”

Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, the wife of Charles Eastlake, the first President of the Photographic Society, The London Quarterly Review, April 1857

A very inspirational show, with much to study and learn.

Image: Portrait of Christina, Mervyn O’Gorman, c.1913 © The Royal Photographic Society Collection at the National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL