Photography galleries in London
Get in the picture with our guide to London's best galleries to visit and buy photography
London has produced many of the twentieth century’s greatest photojournalists and fashion photographers – Terence Donovan, David Bailey, Don McCullin and Norman Parkinson among them. And although the medium sometimes struggles to be accepted as fine art, the first (and so far only) photographer to win the Turner Prize, Wolfgang Tillmans in 2000, was also a Londoner, albeit an adopted one.
The capital’s thriving and ever-expanding art scene is home to galleries that show and sell photography in all its forms, from the earliest nineteenth-century daguerreotypes to limited-edition fine-art prints and documentary shots of celebrities and pop stars.
This gallery, which hosts a regular progamme of exhibitions, specialises in classic and modern twentieth-century photography, photojournalism, fashion and contemporary photography. Expect a sprinkling of contemporary photographers to feature around crowd-pleasing shows starring big name twentieth-century camera-clickers and screen legends.
- 49 Dorset St, W1U 7NF
The London outpost of this Italian gallery is dedicated to experimental and contemporary photography. It represents, commissions and supports artists that push the medium’s boundaries, including Peter Piller, Dan Holdsworth, Sophie Rickett, Heidi Specker, Clare Strand and Massimo Vitali.
- 43-44 Albemarle St, W1S 4JJ
With branches both here and in Munich, Daniel Blau’s London gallery on Hoxton Square specialises in vintage photography, casting an eye backwards to various fascinating moments in photographic history. In the past, Blau’s walls have played host to paper negatives, photographs of Mars taken by NASA in the 1970s, images of the Blitz and iconic pictures from the news by renowned photojournalists. The gallery also programmes events and publishes photography books.
- 51 Hoxton Square, N1 6PB
Getty Images hold an archive of millions of photographic images in the form of neagatives, prints and transparencies, dating from the 1850s to the present day. Drawing on this incredible resource, they host a regular showcase of exhibitions from '100 Years of Hollywood Images' to 'A History of the Isle of Man TT Races', in addition to providing a tailored service of fine quality prints for sale, both to the public and for commercial use. If you're looking for a specific image, the gallery also offers a research facility to search their collection.
- 46 Eastcastle St, W1W 8DX
Hamiltons has been showing and selling work by some of the giants of twentieth-century photography since 1977. Super-sleek, black-and-white portraiture by Irving Penn, Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts set the tone. But, thanks to forays into architectural photography by Tadao Ando and a show of Tomio Seike’s pared-down, almost painterly images of Brighton beaches, Hamilton’s resists easy categorisation
- 13 Carlos Place, W1K 2EU
When Magnum Photos was founded in 1947 by Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson among others, the idea of a cooperative owned and run by photographers was unheard of. Now Magnum counts leading photojournalists from across the globe among its members. The Print Room is an archive and exhibition space for their work – totalling one million images and growing by the day.
- Magnum Studios, 63 Gee St, EC1V 3RS
This central London gallery (just around the corner from Oxford Street) picks fresh and striking photographic work from a pool of international artists. Engaging and diverse, the work on show varies from tribal fashion and florals to transience and Israeli identity. Focusing on photography and the moving image, Margaret Street also stays open until 9pm on the last Thursday of each month, as part of the Fitzrovia Lates programme.
- 63 Margaret St, W1W 8SW
Michael Hoppen Gallery, set up in 1993, exclusively exhibits photography. The second floor is dedicated to high quality contemporary work from well known photographers such as Daido Moriyama, as well as rising stars such as Desiree Dolron to edgier, newly discovered talents. Superbly produced artists' books, some published in-house, are available to buy from the gallery.
- 3 Jubilee Place, SW3 3TD
The Photographers' Gallery's six-storey premises on Ramillies Street features gallery space, a bookshop, print sales room and café. It hosts the annual Deutsche Börse Photography Prize among contemporary and fine art photography exhibitions, as well as a programme of talks and events.
- 16-18 Ramillies St, W1F 7LW
An early pioneer in collecting and exhibiting photography, the V&A now boasts a permanent gallery dedicated to the medium. The inaugural exhibition charts the history of the photography with a display of beautiful and remarkable images taken between 1839 and the 1960s. Two further spaces are devoted to exploring the work of key photographic figures such as Julia Margaret Cameron and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Temporary displays, primarily showcasing contemporary photography, will be shown in the V&A's existing photographs gallery.
- V&A, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
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