Concern in Bradford over new photography center at V&A museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is due to open its new photography center in spring 2023, making it the UK’s largest space for permanent photography collection.

It happens six years after the VIRGINIA acquired more than 400,000 world famous pieces from media museum Collection of the Royal Photographic Society.

The to transfer of the images and artifacts constituted 10% of the media museum’s collection.

It featured some of first photographic imagesinnovative color photography, cameras and more.

The latest developments in the V&A’s photography center vision have left the Eccleshill-born photographer Ian Beesley concerned.

But the media museum dismissed any suggestion that Bradford could lose, and added that the center had been “the ambition of the V&A for a long time”.

“Every year there’s something else that makes them bigger,” Mr Beesley said.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Ian Beesley, pictured aboveIan Beesley, pictured above (Picture: NewsQuest)

“When that [National Museum of Photography, Film and Television] was created in 1983, it changed my career. I had access to the greatest photographs in the world. This opportunity has been taken away from the younger generation, particularly in the north of England, who aspire to become photographers and filmmakers.

“Everything gravitates towards the south. What we have here is a prime example of non-leveling.

“It’s a question of access. I used to have meetings and people would say, well, Bradford is a hard place to get to. If you turn your back, London is a hard place to get to.

“When you think Bradford is going to be cultural city it seems a shame that six years ago we lost what was a very important thing.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: the slogan of the cultural city of Bradford projected onto the town hall. Bradford City of Culture’s slogan is projected onto the Town Hall. (Picture: Bradford 2025)

“There was no transparency about the decisions that were made.”

Shedding light on the situation, a spokesperson for the media museum said: “We already have and will continue to have a collection of internationally significant photography and photographic technology at National Museum of Science and Media.

Photography is a priority for the museum. We focus on areas of photographic process and practice, and are particularly interested in stories about how material images and technology (analog or digital) were made and used.

“The Royal Society of Photography collection moved to the V&A in 2016 because it fits more with their mission than ours.

“We still have over 3 million photographs in our collections. These collections focus on photographs that provide an understanding of the development of photographic processes (such as the Kodak collection), the ongoing cultural impact of photography (such as the Daily Herald archives), as well as photographic archives that have a particular interest in Bradford. (like the Impressions Gallery archive).

“Visitors can currently enjoy an entire floor of the museum devoted to photography. We also have the upcoming Sound and Vision Galleries – a major redevelopment to showcase our collections, which will provide us with many more opportunities to exhibit our photography and photographic technology.

“We recently digitized 50,000 photographs of the Daily Herald Archive in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture – open them up to a global audience online.

“The new galleries at the V&A have been their long-time ambition and we welcome the fact that more of the country’s photography collections will be on display.”

The Telegraph & Argus has contacted the V&A museum for comment, but has not received any at the time of publication.

follow us on Facebook, Twitter and instagram to follow all the latest news.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates straight to your inbox.

Do you have a story for us? Email [email protected], contact us here or call us on 01274 705292.

Comments are closed.