Photography was long ago recognized as a form of art. Ever since the early 20th century, there have been photography museums popping up all over the world, and today we have one in almost every major city on the planet.
With so many great photography museums, it’s very difficult to pick the best ones. However, I have made a list of a few museums that truly stand out from the rest, not only because of the size of their exhibits but also because of their great atmosphere and the quality of presented work.
So, if you ever find yourself in one of these cities and you love photography, make sure not to miss out on these amazing photography galleries.
The Museum of Contemporary Photography
The MoCP is located in Chicago and it is one of the most important photography museums in the world, although it has only been established since 1984. Here, you can find photography pieces from various decades of the 19th and 20th century and see some recognizable work from renowned artists such as Dorothea Lange and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
There are several thousand photos here, so the work you can see is pretty diverse. Apart from world-famous photographers, the MoCP promotes new talent through constant exhibitions.
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
Like the MoCP, the Tokyo Photography Museum is relatively new, being opened for the first time in 1990. The place has over 20,000 photographs, mostly from Japanese artists. Apart from the exhibition, the museum has a movie hall and a gallery for video games and anime.
Also known as TOP, this museum usually focuses on themed rather than individual photographer exhibitions. However, from time to time, there have been exhibitions dedicated to a single artist like Martin Parr and Berenice Abbott. As far as the permanent collections go, you will mostly see works from Japanese photographers like Shihachi Fujimoto, Akira Komoto, Kansuke Yamamoto, and many more. Foreign featured artists include Bruce Gilden, Raghubir Singh, and a few others.
Jeu de Paume
Located in Paris, the National Gallery of Jeu de Paume is one of the most well-known European photography museums. It focuses on modern photography and media. This historic building was raised in the mid 19th century, but the museum itself opened for the first time in 1909. For many years after the war, it was a gallery which held important impressionist paintings.
In the last couple of decades, Jeu de Paume was home to some of the finest works from photographers and other artists like Martin Parr, William Kentridge, and Cindy Sherman.
A couple of hundred miles south of Paris, there’s another highly appreciated photography museum located in the city of Winterthur, Switzerland.
There are around 10,000 different objects in Fotomuseum Winterthur, including photos, photo books, digital images, installations, and more. Apart from the works of well-known artists, this museum also gives a lot of space to emerging talents through constant exhibitions.
WestLicht Camera Museum
Located in Vienna, this museum is a little bit more unique. While it does feature plenty of exhibitions all the time, it also has a gallery full of old cameras, mostly made by Leica. There are also spy cameras, first aerial cameras, and more. If you like vintage photography equipment, WestLicht is the right place to visit.