The Photographers' Gallery

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The Photographers' Gallery is the largest public gallery in London dedicated to photography. From the latest emerging talent, to historical archives and established artists – we are the place to see photography in all its forms.

The Photographers’ Gallery unveiled its new home for international and British photography in the heart of London's Soho on Saturday 19 May 2012.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Monday – Saturday 10.00 – 18.00
Thursday 10.00 – 20.00
Sunday 11.00 – 18.00

Admission charges

free before 12.00 each day; free to under 18s;
after 12.00 £3/£2.50 members and concessions

The Gallery has developed a reputation as this country's primary venue for contemporary photography. One of its major achievements has been to establish photography within a wide viewing public, making it more popular and accessible. The gallery was the first in the country to show key names in world photography such as André Kertesz, Jaques-Henri Lartigue and Irving Penn, and has been instrumental in encouraging the inclusion of photography in the programme of leading galleries and museums. An integrated programme of exhibitions and educational events continues to present the most innovative developments in photography as well as nuturing new talent.

The Photographers' Gallery has been instrumental in establishing and promoting the names of contemporary British photographers including Martin Parr and Fay Goodwin. More recently, the Gallery has introduced significant international artists working with photography, such as Rineke Dijkstra, Annelies Strba, Catherine Opie and Boris Mikhailov to audiences in Britain. We also place strong emphasis on facilitating the production of new work by emerging artists, both from Britain and abroad in the form of commissions. The Gallery stages exhibitions which throw new light on the history of photography through exhibitions such as Francesca Woodman, Robert Capa, Gordon Parks and Garry Winogrand. Every year, the Gallery hosts and produces the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, now recognised as one of the most important international art awards.

Collection details


Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
A black and white portrait of a performer from the opera Four Saints in Three Acts

4 Saints in 3 Acts - A Snapshot of the American Avant-garde

  • 20 October 2017 — 11 February 2018 *on now

The Photographers’ Gallery presents 4 Saints in 3 Acts - A Snapshot of the American Avant-garde. It is the first exhibition worldwide to focus on the photographic dimensions of the ground-breaking American modernist opera, Four Saints in Three Acts. With a libretto by Gertrude Stein and a score by Virgil Thomson, the opera premièred at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut (to mark the opening of Pablo Picasso’s first solo exhibition in America), and subsequently transferred to Broadway, as the first opera to open there, on 20th February 1934.

Defying the form and content of traditional opera, bringing together some of the leading names in performance, design and photography and featuring an all African-American cast, Four Saints came to epitomise a unique experimental moment and was considered a seminal work of the trans-Atlantic American avant-garde.

Photography played a central role in the productions’ development, creative process and documentation and this exhibition brings together over 80 photographs, from cast portraits to stage and behind-the-scenes shots and includes previously unseen work from such leading photographers as Lee Miller, Carl Van Vechten, George Platt Lynes and Thérèse Bonney. The production further boasted choreography by Frederick Ashton and strikingly innovative cellophane stage designs from surrealist artist Florine Stettheimer and reflected a complex interdisciplinary intersection of white and black, queer and straight, avant-garde and mainstream subcultures.

A crucial element of the success of Four Saints in Three Acts was the ground- breaking employment of an all African-American cast, recruited from the choirs and nightclubs of Harlem and coordinated by choir director Eva Jessye to perform Stein’s demanding text. The portraits of Jessye and several cast members by Miller and Van Vechten in particular offer unique glimpses of a largely unknown community of Harlem-based classical music performers. They afford insights into the importance of the African-American contribution to the opera’s popular success. A number of the cast, for example, then went on to star in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in 1935, which was inspired by the original Four Saints in Three Acts production.

Curated by Patricia Allmer (Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Edinburgh) and John Sears (Freelance writer and curator).

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, co-published with Manchester University Press and available from our Bookshop.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Free admission before 12.00 every day
Exhibition Day Pass £4 (£2.50 Concessions)
Advance Online Booking £2.50


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
A Poalroid of a car taken in Utah, the ground is dusty and the sky is blue

Instant Stories. Wim Wenders' Polaroids

  • 20 October 2017 — 11 February 2018 *on now

★★★★ - Time Out

This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see the personal and previously unseen Polaroid work of Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Wim Wenders (b.1945, Germany) and provides a singular insight into the artist’s thought processes, preoccupations and aesthetic inspirations.

Whilst his larger photographic works are well known, this is the first time he has shown a selection of the many thousands of Polaroid photographs taken, both on and off location, between the early 1970s and mid 80s. Wenders’ fascination with the Polaroid stems from his early adoption of the format while he was learning the craft of film-making in the late 60s. Polaroids operated as a visual notebook – a way of testing out frames and ideas – but more than that they offered him a kind of liminal space between the subject and the photograph, the photographer and the act of taking a photo, the intention and the outcome.

"The entire Polaroid process (and procedure) has nothing to do with our contemporary experience, when we look at virtual and vanishing apparitions on a screen that we can delete or swipe to the next one. Then, you produced and owned ‘an original’! This was a true THING, a singular object of its own, not a copy, not a print, not multipliable, not repeatable. You couldn’t help feeling that you had stolen this image-object from the world. You had transferred a piece of the past into the present."

– Wim Wenders, writing in his artist’s book of the same title, Autumn 2017

Instant Stories presents over 200 of Wenders’ Polaroids encompassing portraits of cast and crew, friends and family, behind-the scenes, still-lives, street-photography and landscapes. Alongside diary-like impressions and homages to his artistic inspirations, including Fassbinder and Warhol, the small format images take us on a literal and metaphoric journey through Europe and the US. From his first trip to New York, his fascination with American TV, views from rooftops (he’d never been so high up before), shop-fronts, roads, cars and many other visual recordings, Wenders’ Polaroids reflect a distinctive and lyrical vision – at once both intimate and portentous.

The exhibition will also feature a selection of moving images from his films, reflecting moments in Wenders’ canon, where Polaroid cameras and still photographs form a vital part of the narrative, such as the photo-obsessed protagonist in Alice in the Cities (1974).

Instant Stories. Wim Wenders’ Polaroids is a collaboration between The Photographers’ Gallery, C|O Berlin Foundation and the Wim Wenders Foundation.

Wim Wenders' films include Alice in the Cities (1974), The American Friend (1977), Paris Texas (1984) and the acclaimed Wings of Desire (1987). He has also directed award winning non- fiction including Buena Vista Social Club (1999), Pina (2011) and most recently The Salt of the Earth (2015). His photographs have been exhibited internationally.

Supported by the Wim Wenders Exhibition Circle.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Free before 12 everyday
Exhibition Day Pass £4 (£2.50 Concessions)
Advanced Online Booking £2.50


The Photographers' Gallery
16 - 18 Ramillies Street
Greater London




020 7087 9300

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.