Art of Arrangement

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Art of Arrangement: Photography and the Still Life Tradition
Admission £6.50 / Concessions

Art of Arrangement: Photography and the Still Life Tradition is a visually arresting exhibition organised in partnership with the National Media Museum, it surveys the many ways in which photographers have explored still life.

The Royal Photographic Society Collection at the National Media Museum.

Read Jonathan Jones’ Guardian blog about Fenton’s image here>>

Read Adrian Hamilton’s Review for the Independent ‘Calling the shots: Still Life Photography here>>

Still life has captured the imagination of photographers from the early 19th century to the present day. When early photographers adopted the still life genre, they inherited a rich visual tradition, found in centuries of painting. It is a tradition full of lavish, exotic and sometimes dark arrangements, full of symbolic depth and meaning.

Historically, painters used the rich decorative possibilities of still life to demonstrate their technical skill and to create a feast for the senses. Photographers, throughout the history of the medium, have extended the possibilities of the still life genre and tradition. They have not only used the subject as a vehicle for creative expression, but for documentary and scientific enquiry, and for the development of inventories and catalogues.

This exhibition builds on the rich tradition, symbolic nature and history of still life. It considers the formal and aesthetic conventions photographers have used, and how they have been adapted and subverted to invest new meaning in the photograph.

Drawn exclusively from the National Media Museum Photography Collection, Art of Arrangement: Photography and the Still Life Tradition includes photographs by Ansel Adams, Harold Edgerton, Roger Fenton, Edward Steichen, William Henry Fox Talbot and Madame Yevonde, as well as contemporary photographers such as Chris Killip and Don McCullin.

Exhibition Talks

For tickets and further information please call 01225 388569

Monday 19 March, 3.30pm
Ticket £5
Pam Roberts: Roger Fenton (1819-1869) and the Still Life Tradition
Pam Roberts explores the work of photographer Roger Fenton. Despite the cumbersome nature of mid/late 19th century photographic technology, the still life genre was used as both a traditional and experimental form during this period, especially so by Roger Fenton. Fenton practised every aspect of photography during his ten-year career and only fully turned his attention to still life in 1860 producing large format still life prints that emphatically stated his artistic credentials.

Monday 16 April, 3.30pm
Ticket £5
Alexander Sturgis: Photography and Painting
From its invention photography has both responded to and influenced the painter’s practice. In this talk the Museum’s Director, Alexander Sturgis, considers the fascinating dialogue between painting and photography over the last century and a half as exemplified in many of the photographs in the exhibition Art of Arrangement.

This exhibition has been organised in partnership with the National Media Museum, Bradford.



10am to 5pm
Sunday and Bank Holiday 11 am to 5pm


£6.50 | concessions