In 1852 the Victoria and Albert Museum became the first museum to house photographic work; their first photography exhibition followed in 1858. With a collection spanning over a hundred and fifty years, the museum is now hosting A History of Photography exhibition. It features work from the 1840s to the 1970s and showcases technical and artistic mastery by photographers such as Eugène Atget, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, Irving Penn and Bernd and Hilla Beche.
Only a small percentage of its three hundred thousand plus collection, is actually on display. While the rest are available to buy as prints, this exhibit focusses on the importance of the senses - touch in particular. For example, Cecil Beaton is a self-taught photographer who started his career with Vogue magazine. His work features fashion and models, such as in Evening Dresses (1936). Don McCullin's theme of war is far less glamorous, with his black and white images show scenes from the Vietnam War. In contrast, Jem Southam, was a new breed of photographer who started using colour in the 1970s.