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Photographers' Gallery

  • Art
  • Soho
  • price 0 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
TPG 1 (exterior).jpg
Kate Elliott
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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The Photographers' Gallery's six-storey premises on Ramillies Street has reopened after a full facelift. Original plans for the new site were for a striking, angular structure with giant floor-to-ceiling lightwells grasping for the sky. After a fiscal wake-up call (the budget was cut nearly in half to £9 million), the Irish architects O'Donnell+Tuomey returned with a handsome refit and recladding of an old brick building, plus what amounts to an extravagant loft conversion, adding two whole storeys and just one thin sliver of those firmament-reaching windows. What hasn't been lost is any of the interior space. The upper floors boast two airy new galleries, while a bookshop, print sales room and café have been dug from the ground floor and basement levels. In fact, the climb-down from landmark building to tasteful conversion is no great loss, given the building's move to an unprepossessing corner plot in a back alley south of Oxford Street. The Photographers' Gallery has kept faith in its location, however tricky and inhospitable their new plot on the vaguely insalubrious Ramilies Street might seem. Indeed, the new site maintains the gallery's roots in Soho (just) and will hopefully come to be as embedded here as it was in its former location on Great Newport Street, which, despite its inelegant, warren-like unsuitability for showing great photography, will also live long in the memory.

Details

Address:
16-18
Ramillies St
London
W1F 7LW
Transport:
Tube: Oxford Circus
Price:
£2.50–£4
Opening hours:
10am–6pm daily
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What’s on

Chris Killip: Retrospective

  • 5 out of 5 stars

Chris Killip might not be as well known as Martin Parr or have the cult kudos of Tony Ray-Jones, but the work he produced in the 1970s and ’80s arguably stands above either of them. Killip was born on the Isle of Man and returned there after quitting commercial photography in the early 1970s to concentrate on the communities he grew up amongst. It still looks like the 1930s: men till fields with horses, stone walls grid the landscape under glowering skies. Killip’s portraits are full of dignity and empathy for the relentless bleak toil of these people’s lives. It would be a fine body of work in itself, but it’s what comes next that makes this show so vital. Taking his cues from the changes he saw happening to the traditional Manx way of life, Killip started exploring other disintegrating communities in the north of England: Tyne shipbuilders, steelworkers in Yorkshire and seacoal scavengers on the Northumbrian coast. The prow of gigantic oil tanker Tyne Pride appears suddenly and surreally at the end of a glum terraced street as children play in its shadow. But the ship’s buyer fell through, and when Killip returns two years later, the shipyard is gone and the street is being demolished.  The overriding emotion here is tenderness There’s a fascinating taxonomy of dress in these photos that speaks its own language of deprivation and necessity: a woman picking coal off a wintry beach wearing a ‘very good fur coat’ or an old man dozing on a bench, his trousers held up with a WWI

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