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Open seven days a week, 10.00-18.00. Entry to the Museum is free.

Drawn by Light: The Royal Photographic Society Collection

Drawn by Light ran from 2 December 2014–1 March 2015


★★★★ 'A treasure trove of beauties' – Evening Standard  
'Magnificent exhibition'The Observer
'Stunning' – The Times

From serene landscapes to exquisite nudes, this exhibition featured over 200 extraordinary highlights from the collection of the world’s oldest surviving photographic society, by some of the greatest names in photography.

Founded in 1853, the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) Collection is now held at the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford as part of the National Photography Collection. With over 250,000 images, 8,000 items of photographic equipment and 31,000 books, periodicals and documents, it's one of the most important and comprehensive photographic collections in the world.

In collaboration with the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen in Mannheim, Germany, and with the support of The Royal Photographic Society, the Science Museum made a selection of key treasures from this extraordinary collection. Included were some of the earliest known photographic images dating back to the 1820s, by pioneers of photography such as Roger Fenton, William Henry Fox Talbot and Julia Margaret Cameron, alongside contemporary works by some of modern photography’s most influential figures, such as Don McCullin, Terry O’Neill and Martin Parr.


Image credits:

1. Christina, 1913, Lieutenant Colonel Mervyn O'Gorman, The Royal Photographic Society Collection, National Science and Media Museum, Bradford © Lieutenant Colonel Mervyn O’Gorman

2. Gathering Water-Lilies, 1886, Peter Henry Emerson, The Royal Photographic Society Collection © National Science and Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

3. Leicester Square, 1896, Paul Martin, The Royal Photographic Society Collection © National Science and Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL

4. New Orleans Street Singers, 1971, Tony Ray-Jones, The Royal Photographic Society Collection © National Science and Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL

5. Still Life with Ivory Tankard and Fruit, 1860, Roger Fenton, The Royal Photographic Society Collection © National Science and Media Museum, Bradford

Drawn By Light exhibition trailer

Drawn by Light: The Royal Photographic Society Collection

How photography has shaped our perception of the world
Age ranges
AdultsAge 12-16