Beneath the Surface

Thursday 21 May - Monday 24 August 2015
Embankment Galleries

Beneath the Surface was an exhibition commissioned by Photo London that opened concurrently with the inaugural fair and continued until 24 August 2015. In keeping with the breadth of photographic works represented at Photo London, Beneath the Surface reflected the international scope and historical depth of the V&A’s preeminent collection of photographs.

This exhibition of some 200 works reflected the Embankment Galleries’ riverfront location in one of London’s most ancient quarters, focusing on images of water, the topography of the city and the people within it. Depictions of water – implying depths beneath the surface – provided a metaphor for the richness of the V&A’s collection, and the exhibition also included photographs of the museum itself. Selected from a collection that date back to 1852, Beneath the Surface comprised unseen or rarely-displayed photographs chosen by Martin Barnes, the museum’s Senior Curator of Photographs.

Beneath the Surface included works by the earliest practitioners in the field, including nineteenth-century masters William Strudwick, Victor Prout and Charles Thurston Thompson; great observers of twentieth-century life such as Thurston Hopkins, John Gay and Brassaï; contemporary and fine art photography by Susan Derges, Nigel Shafran, Sinje Dillenkofer, Stephen Gill and Naoya Hatakeyama, and photographic works by practitioners better known in other media, such as graphic designer Robert Brownjohn and installation artists Ackroyd & Harvey.