15 Best Photography Museums and Galleries

By Tata Rossi 7 days ago, Photography Tips

Whether you are a photography enthusiast, an aspiring shooter, or a professional looking for inspiration for your next project, a visit to a photography museum is a great idea. Here you can find both rare works of the first photographers and the best examples of contemporary masters.

Moreover, many of the best photography museums have created their own online galleries and you can check out legendary photographs or track the latest trends without leaving your home. Find out more about iconic people in photography and get a great source of inspiration to boost your creativity.

Top 15 Photography Museums and Galleries

Studying the works of outstanding masters is a great way to develop your photography skills. While photography books contain a lot of useful information, learning the best practical methods or the ways how a particular technique was applied is more effective for aspiring photographers.

1. Museum für Fotografie, Berlin

berlin photography museum

If you want to know more about vintage fashion photography then you should visit this museum. It contains images from the world-famous photographers in the genre, including one of the most prominent representatives of the twentieth century, Helmut Newton.

berlin photography museum exhibition

His pictures were published on the pages of famous magazines such as Elle, Vogue, Paris Match. Here you can see not only his best images but also pieces of equipment that he used during photoshoots. Moreover, works of other famous photographers are also represented in this museum.

2. Sala Canal Isabel II, Madrid

madrid photography museum

This is one of the best photography galleries featuring top contemporary pictures. Until 1986, the building of this museum was a water tower. Now, you can find stunning works of modern photographers here as well as enjoy the unique audio-visual exhibitions.

madrid photography museum exhibition

The museum has a small hall for showing films. It is located in a repurposed dome. You can either view Sala Canal Isabel exhibitions in the museums or take advantage of their online tours while staying at home.

3. Les Douches la Galerie, Paris

paris photography museum

This is the best photography museum for those, who are crazy about photography, history, and architecture. It is located in a former bathhouse built in the 30s of the twentieth century. Françoise Morin is the curator of the museum. She is a true enthusiast of her craft and will tell you about their fantastic photo collections with great pleasure.

4. Image of War, Zagreb

zagreb photography museum

If you are interested in war photography, then this museum is for you. It was opened in the center of the capital of Croatia in the fall of 2018. Here you will find pictures taken during the war in this country in 1991-1995. The museum exhibits the works of both foreign and local photographers, who tried to tell about the war, focusing on the ordinary people.

zagreb photography museum exhibition

“Up close and personal” exhibition consists of works of famous war photographers presenting those tragic events through the prism of incredible mini-stories. It is impossible to remain indifferent while looking at these touching photographs. The gallery gives part of its income to the needs of forcibly displaced people and refugees.

5. Lianzhou Museum of Photography

lianzhou photography museum

This photographic museum was opened in 2017 in a small Chinese town located on the fringes of the Pearl River Delta. This museum is the first state-funded gallery in the country. The exhibitions are mainly focused on representatives of contemporary photography.

lianzhou photography museum exhibition

Thanks to this museum, the center of Lianzhou has been revitalized significantly. Here you can find both the work of local photographers and top foreign shooters.

6. Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography

tokyo photography museum

This is one of the best photography museums in Asia that has been recently renovated. It contains works of Japanese photographers as well as representatives from other countries. The museum has a unique Image Permanence Laboratory created for preservation and conservation of photos.

tokyo photography museum exhibition

The museum has been collecting various photographic materials since 1989. At the moment, its collections include more than 18 thousand works of local photographers and about five thousand images from other countries. Moreover, here you will find several thousand reference materials and images related to the area of Images & Technology.

This photographic museum consists of galleries with still and moving pictures, a cinema hall, an atelier, and a library.

7. Museum of Modern Art in New York

new york photography museum

Although the main objects are sculpture and paintings, the MoMA is referred to as one of the most popular photography museums USA. You can see over 25,000 impressive photographs in their dedicated department. Moreover, photography shows are held quite often there.

new york photography museum exhibition

Another stunning feature is the Museum of Modern Art Magazine. This online magazine allows you to view virtual exhibitions, read, watch and listen about the exhibits of this museum.

8. Portuguese Center of Photography, Porto

porto photography museum

The Cadeia da Relação was used to hold prisoners until 1974. A former 18th-century prison was converted into one of the best photography museums in 1997. The National Collection of Photography is its regular exhibition.

porto photography museum exhibition

You can see the best examples of contemporary Portuguese and Brazilian photography. Also, there are photographic equipment and historical cameras on display. The beautiful view of Porto is a welcome bonus for museum visitors.

9. The Photographers’ Gallery, London

london photography museum

The London Photographers' Gallery was opened in Covent Garden. It was founded in 1971 and was the first public photo gallery in Great Britain. Here you can see different genres of photography and tons of related materials.

london photography museum exhibition

In May 2012, the gallery moved into the building of a former textiles warehouse in Soho. This museum is one of the most famous and influential not only within the United Kingdom but across the entire world. Visit the Photographers' Gallery website to browse their fantastic collections if you can’t visit the museum in person.

10. Yossi Milo Gallery

yossi milo photography museum

If you are looking for a photographic museum New York then Yossi Milo gallery is worth a look. It works since 2000 and includes various photo and video materials. The gallery doesn’t focus on any particular genre, so here you can find photographs in a wide variety of styles from the figurative to the abstract.

yossi milo photography museum exhibition

By visiting this gallery, you get a great chance to analyze the work of Sze Tsung Leong, Pieter Hugo, and other photographers to inspire you.

11. Fraenkel Gallery

frankel photography museum

Go to Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco if you are interested in prominent photo figures and NASA lunar photography in museums. It was founded in 1979 and exhibits the work of such famous personalities as Lee Friedlander, Diane Arbus, and Robert Adams.

frankel photography museum exhibition

The gallery actively collaborates with private collectors and other museums from different parts of the world. In addition, you can marvel at the exhibitions in the Fraenkel Gallery viewing rooms on their website.

12. Three Shadows Photography Art Center

three shadows photography museum

Chinese photographer Rong and his Japanese colleague Inri opened an art center in 2007 in Beijing. This innovative video and photo platform is constantly developing. If you are on the other side of the world, you can look at some of the collections by visiting the Three Shadows Photography Art Center website.

If you want to visit a gallery in Beijing, you will find it in a Caochangdi complex. Its exhibitions include Asian, European and American photographers. You can also find many books on video and photography in the library.

13. Hamiltons Gallery

hamiltons photography museum

Hamiltons gallery is based in the former music room and rackets court of the Courtauld family. It was opened in 1977. This is one of the best photography galleries focused on contemporary photographers. Hamiltons Gallery exhibitions are available online so you can get inspiration from far away from London.

hamiltons photography museum exhibition

Visitors can see the works by Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Irving Penn, etc. Moreover, images of the world-known photojournalist, Sir Don McCullin, have been shown at the gallery as well.

14. Galleria Carla Sozzani

carla sozzani photography museum

This Milanese gallery is one of the best photography museums and most important art spots in the country. It was opened in 1990. Here you can see the best works of many photographers such as William Klein, Berenice Abbott, and Annie Leibovitz at permanent exhibitions. Plus, the World Press Photo Show takes place at the gallery every year.

carla sozzani photography museum exhibition

The museum is also known for its design, architecture, as well as a library of books on photography, art, and fashion. You can also browse the exhibitions online right on Galleria Carla Sozzani website.

15. TORCH Gallery

torch photography museum

This photography gallery in Amsterdam had its first visitors in 1984. At first, it was focused on the works of Dutch artists. However, as their popularity grew, the gallery reached a new level.

Currently, TORCH exhibits pieces of contemporary art and photography. Avant-garde aficionados can enjoy photographs of famous personalities including Anton Corbijn, Inez van Lamsweerde, Edward Burtynsky, and Teun Hocks.

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