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History of the Gallery

8 Great Newport Street Dorothy Bohm

8 Great Newport Street Dorothy Bohm

Exterior view of 8 Great Newport Street, 1971 (detail) © Dorothy Bohm/ Courtesy The Photographers' Gallery

The Photographers’ Gallery was the first independent gallery in Britain devoted to photography. It was founded by Sue Davies  OBE at 8 Great Newport Street in a converted Lyon's Tea Bar, and opened its doors on 14 January 1971. Nine years later in 1980, The Photographers' Gallery expanded to include an additional gallery space at 5 Great Newport Street, thus occupying two separate sites on the same street.

In December 2008 the Gallery moved to a nearby building on Ramillies Street, a former warehouse built in 1910, and began a major redevelopment of that building in 2010. The Photographers’ Gallery reopened in May 2012 with three floors of galleries, a studio floor for education activities, a Bookshop, Café and Print Sales space.

As the UK's primary venue for photography, The Photographers’ Gallery has been instrumental in establishing photography’s important role in culture and society. It has provided a vital focus for the medium in the heart of London and has been the first public gallery in the country to exhibit key names in international photography, such as Juergen Teller (fashion), Robert Capa (photojournalism), Sebastião Salgado (documentary) and Taryn Simon (contemporary art), alongside promoting the work of UK-based practitioners including Martin Parr, Zineb Sedira and Corinne Day.

One of Europe's most visited galleries dedicated to photography, The Photographers' Gallery produces the high-profile annual Photography Prize. Past prize winners include Andreas Gursky (1998), Shirana Shahbazi (2002), Robert Adams (2006), and Sophie Ristelhueber (2010).

The Photographers' Gallery occasionally presents work from unexpected sources, for example its exhibition of photographs in The London Fire Brigade archives and a presentation of studio portrait photography by Harry Jacobs, a high street studio photographer who worked for over 40 years in South London.

Across all its exhibitions, talks, events and projects, The Photographers’ Gallery continues to encourage and support a varied and distinctive engagement with photography.


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