This week we attend­ed the pre­view of the new Cen­tre for British Pho­tog­ra­phy on Jermyn Street, in the cen­tre of Lon­don. It is an excit­ing new devel­op­ment and one that feels right for pho­tog­ra­phy now, cel­e­brat­ing and doc­u­ment­ing the past while also mak­ing a deter­mined effort to invest in and be a part of its future.

The gallery itself is an impres­sive space: three airy floors with a gal­leried area, offer­ing plen­ty of room for large exhi­bi­tions; small­er spaces are ide­al for small­er, more focused col­lec­tions. There is an archive, study cen­tre and shop with prints and books for sale. Events and talks along­side exhi­bi­tions are planned too. All in all, the Cen­tre for British Pho­tog­ra­phy aims to be a vibrant and cre­ative space.

The Found­ing Direc­tor James Hyman, along with his wife Claire, have been involved in the art and pho­tog­ra­phy world for many years and want­ed to cre­ate a space ded­i­cat­ed to pho­tog­ra­phy – in the real world not just online. They will exhib­it works by some of the biggest names in British pho­tog­ra­phy over the years; look­ing for­ward, col­lab­o­ra­tions with uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges ensure that work by tomor­row’s pho­tog­ra­phers are giv­en a platform. 

The open­ing show offers a mix of exhi­bi­tions, with the major one in the entrance area giv­en over to Fast For­ward’s Head­strong: Women and Empow­er­ment. Fast For­ward is run from the Uni­ver­si­ty of the Cre­ative Arts by the cura­tor of the show, Anna Fox. Anoth­er area is ded­i­cat­ed to The Eng­lish at Home which shows a selec­tion of 20th cen­tu­ry domes­tic pho­tog­ra­phy from the Hyman Collection.

Small­er “In Focus” col­lec­tions are dot­ted around. One of them shows a selec­tion of work by Shirley Bak­er. Called ‘Street Life’, the images show chil­dren at play, out on the streets of Man­ches­ter in the 1960s. 

The Cen­tre for British Pho­tog­ra­phy is min­utes from Green Park tube sta­tion and the exhi­bi­tions are free to vis­it. The Cen­tre for British Photography 

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