Calling All Shutterbugs: Here Are 5 Galleries Every Photo Lover Should Know
Whether you're after vintage or contemporary, gelatin silver or c-prints, these galleries have got you covered.
Diane Arbus once wrote, “A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.” Her words express the sense of uncertainty, even mystery, that has characterized the medium of photography since it emerged in the mid-1800s.
An inherently ambiguous form, photography blurs the boundaries between science and art, fact and fiction, magic and machine. During the 19th-century Spiritualist movement, many people even believed that a photograph had truly supernatural qualities, and could capture the afterimages of ghosts. Today, photography has become part of our daily digital lives—a way to present our identities and stories to the world.
For all the photography fanatics out there—which, in this day and age, is a larger number than ever—allow us to offer an introduction to five of our photo-focused galleries you should know.
New York, London, Paris
The grand dame of photography galleries, Magnum was founded as a photography association in 1947 by famed photographers Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David ‘Chim’ Seymour, and George Rodger to create a unique, supportive network of both reportage and and fine-art photographers. Today, Magnum is considered the oldest surviving artists’ cooperative in the world and its archive includes some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. Representing more than 70 photographers, including its founders and the likes of Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Davidson, Susan Meiselas, Magnum is home to world-class exhibitions of both 20th-century and contemporary photography.
One of London’s leading photography galleries, Huxley-Parlour is always full of surprises, with programming that ranges from 20th century masters like Berenice Abbott, Elliott Erwitt, and Henri Cartier-Bresson to the latest in contemporary practice. On view now is the rarely seen color photography of Vivian Maier, the Chicago nanny-turned-cult figure. Maier became famous for her cinematic black-and-white images of Chicago, discovered after her death. But she also produced roughly 40,000 Ektachrome color slides, which are surprisingly abstract and a lesser known part of her oeuvre. In September, the gallery will hold an exhibition of new work by photographer Gregory Halpern, who has been photographing the city of Omaha, Nebraska, for the past 15 years, exploring the shifting dynamics of power and masculinity at work there.
Founded in 1990, this stalwart of the New York photography gallery scene has made its name presenting an imaginative mix of established and up-and-coming photographers. Here you’ll find the classic black-and-white prints of Robert Frank and Susan Meiselas, but also camera-less photography by Liv Nielsen and contemporary photograms by Farrah Karapetian.
ONGallery is very much of the times—an online only gallery where you can buy vetted and pristine vintage prints at all hours of the day or night. Fashion photography devotees can expect a superlative offering of rare and important prints by Helmut Newton, including many images featured in Vogue and Sumo, Newton’s famous oversize photo-book classic. Other titans of the glossies can be found here as well, including Terry O’Neill and Patrick Demarchelier, along with a mix of celebrity, sport, architecture and landscape photography.
Dealer James Hyman opened his London gallery with a focus on Modern British painting, drawing, and sculpture, selling the likes of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, and Bridget Riley. In 2008, the gallery expanded to include James Hyman Photography, which likewise places emphasis on artists of the British Isles—you’ll find works by Bill Brandt, Martin Parr, and Linda McCartney, among others. The gallery is also a treasure trove for vintage photography lovers, with a number of remarkable works by innovators of the medium like Gustave Le Grey and William Henry Fox Talbot, along with 20th-century stars like Man Ray, Walker Evans, and Francesca Woodman.
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