Next Summer the Dulwich Gallery will explore the history of photography through depictions of nature.


Kazumasa Ogawa,
Morning Glory
from ‘Some Japanese Flowers’, ca. 1894.
Photo copyright Dulwich
Picture Gallery

On display from the 17th June 2020, the Dulwich Picture Gallery will present its first major photography exhibition to trace its history through the depictions of nature revealing how the subject led to key advancements in the medium, from its very beginnings in 1840 to present day.

Unearthed: Photography’s Roots will bring together over 100 works by 25 leading international photographers, arranged chronologically.

The exhibition will highlight the innovations of some of the medium’s key figures, including William Henry Fox Talbot, Imogen Cunningham and Robert Mapplethorpe and several overlooked photographers including Japanese artist, Kazumasa Ogawa and the English gardener, Charles Jones.

It will open with some of the first known Victorian images by William Henry Fox Talbot, positioning his experimentation with paper negatives as the very beginning of photography. It will also include a large collection of works by the first female photographer, Anna Atkins, and 3D stereoscopic work by the Lumiere Brothers – which will be displayed publicly for the first time.

Elsewhere, the themed rooms will range from typology and form, to experiments with colour and modernism and bohemia, with the final rooms focusing on more recent advancements in the medium, with the glamour and eroticism of artists Robert Maplethorpe and Nobuyoshi Araki.

Unearthed: Photography’s Roots is curated by Alexander Moore, Head of Exhibitions at Dulwich Picture Gallery, and former Head of Exhibitions for Mario Testino. He said: “Plants and photographs are similar in their makeup; both require light, water and minerals in order to transform, and they are sensitive, delicate objects. Visitors will find something unexpected in this exhibition; from the medium’s astounding yet overlooked female pioneers to the undiscovered genius of Charles Jones, I hope that people will leave having made their own discoveries.”

Unearthed: Photography’s Roots will be on display at the Dulwich Picture Gallery from the 17th June until the 20th September.

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