Photography in London

Get snap happy with our guide to London photography news, features, galleries and more

Aerial photo of the Shard and Thames at night.
© Vincent Laforet - AIR

Addicted to Instagram or permanently attached to your SLR? For photography fans, London's got plenty to get excited about. Keep up to date with the latest exhibition reviews, discover the best photography galleries to visit and see how just how good looking London is when captured in the lens. And if you're looking for inspiration, see the Top 40 Photos of London ever taken.

With our guide to the best photography London has to offer, you'll be on track in a flash. 

Must-see London photography exhibitions

Diane Arbus: In the Beginning
Art

Diane Arbus: In the Beginning

Diane Arbus was the original people-watcher. Some lads larking around by the coast, a glamorous receptionist at her desk, two women shooting evils at the universe: nothing escaped her notice. The Hayward Gallery’s exhibition of photographs from the first seven years of her career (1956-1962) is sleekly arranged with each small print attached to one side of a tall white rectangle. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Don McCullin
Art

Don McCullin

Heads up: this is a difficult show. It’s difficult because it documents in crisp detail some of the most shameful aspects of humanity over the last 60-odd years. It’s difficult because a lot of the images here were commissioned by newspapers and magazines to show their readers those shameful aspects of humanity, and were never meant to be coolly appraised in a big art gallery: they were meant to be spattered with the cornflakes you’d just choked over. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Hanna Moon & Joyce Ng: English as a Second Language
Art

Hanna Moon & Joyce Ng: English as a Second Language

This joint exhibition is inspired by the Asian-born Londoners’ feeling of being ‘lost in translation’, in their new home and in the fashion industry. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Shadows of War: Roger Fenton's Photographs of the Crimea 1855
Art

Shadows of War: Roger Fenton's Photographs of the Crimea 1855

In 1855, Roger Fenton arrived in the Crimea on a commission from publisher Thomas Agnew & Sons to photograph scenes and figures from the ongoing Crimean War. After he returned to London, the images were exhibited at four venues in the capital and… that was it. There hasn’t been a London show of Fenton’s creations since 1856.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
See more recommended photography shows

The latest London photography features

12 amazing photos of London’s lost landmarks
Art

12 amazing photos of London’s lost landmarks

We take a look at the stories behind the city’s vanished landmarks

Ten amazing archive photos of London by Roger Mayne
Art

Ten amazing archive photos of London by Roger Mayne

Why did a young photographer spend five years obsessively photographing a single street in west London?

Juergen Teller: Four reasons you should care about Robert Mapplethorpe
Art

Juergen Teller: Four reasons you should care about Robert Mapplethorpe

Juergen Teller has curated a new show of mega rare photographs by the great Robert Mapplethorpe. We got him to explain why you need to care

Sir Elton John: 'I’d rather have one photograph than ten Picassos'
Art

Sir Elton John: 'I’d rather have one photograph than ten Picassos'

It’s a little bit funny, but Sir Elton John’s got a great collection of modernist photography

Find London's photography galleries

Photographers' Gallery
Art

Photographers' Gallery

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.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Michael Hoppen Gallery
Art

Michael Hoppen Gallery

Michael Hoppen Gallery, set up in 1993, exhibits exclusively fine art photography. The second floor is dedicated to high quality contemporary work from well known photographers such as Daido Moriyama, through 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.  

Atlas Gallery
Art

Atlas Gallery

Atlas came of age in nineties Hoxton, when the area was still a scruffy, well-kept hipster secret but is now based in the swankier environs of Marylebone. The gallery specialises primarily in classic and modern twentieth-century vintage photography, photojournalism and fashion, in addition to representing contemporary photographers.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
V&A Photographs Gallery
Art

V&A Photographs Gallery

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.

More photography galleries in London

Our favourite photos of London

The 40 best photos of London ever taken
Art

The 40 best photos of London ever taken

A collection of our favourite photographs taken of London from 1839 to 2016

London in pictures
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London in pictures

Beautiful photography of London in all weathers and seasons