Squeezing the vision of London’s proposed photographic spaces | Art and design | guardian.co.uk

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Squeezing the vision of London’s proposed photographic spaces

 

National Media Museum Bradford

The Photographers’ Gallery and National Media Museum have had to scale back expansion plans due to a lack of funds

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Sean O’Hagan

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 1 November 2011 12.34 GMT

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National Media Museum Bradford

The National Media Museum in Bradford has had difficulty raising money for its new London project

As I wrote in the Observer on Sunday, Britain’s photography scene finally seems to be catching up with the US. But the journey has not been without its hitches. A few years ago, the future looked rosy for two new contemporary photography spaces planned in London. The Photographers’ Gallery announced a move from Covent Garden to a bigger, custom-built premises in Ramillies Street, and the National Media Museum in Bradford announced the opening of a new photography gallery attached to the Science Museum in Kensington. Since then, the global financial crisis has deepened, and both projects have had to rein in their vision.

The Photographers’ Gallery is scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2012, but the redevelopment budget has shrunk from £15.5m in 2009 to £8.7m, which must surely impact on the size and scale of the rebuild. Brett Rogers, the director of the Photographers’ Gallery, insists that the new space will provide “three floors instead of one and a half, as well as higher ceilings, so it is not a compromise at all in terms of space”. She also adds: “We’re being pragmatic and sensible and will achieve our vision quickly.”

Over at Kensington, though, things seem to be progressing altogether more slowly. In 2007, Colin Philpott, the director of the National Media Museum, said their new London venture – Media Space – would “mainly be a temporary exhibition gallery, and we would envisage photography being the main use of space”. Since then, that vision has changed somewhat. In 2009, a bid for £2.8m (towards a total projected budget of £8.7m) from the Heritage Lottery Fund was rejected. Since then, both the creative director, Charlotte Cotton, and Michael Wilson, one of the

via Squeezing the vision of London’s proposed photographic spaces | Art and design | guardian.co.uk.

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