A couple of British who are in love with art have gathered one of the most precious collections of photography. However, they will probably need to give it out abroad, as British museums lack enthusiasm and are unable to appreciate the value of the collection.
James and Claire Hyman’s collection includes 3,000 precious photos done by Linda McCartney, Paul Nash, Martin Parr, and other experts of the field. The couple is very unsatisfied with the attitude towards the collection from Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Mr Hyman said that Tate turned out to be only interested in conceptual images, and the V&A’s photography department didn’t have money.
Mr. Hyman said in his interview to The Art Newspaper that the country’s institutions that once were champions in photography are now dying. Besides, the Birmingham Library has fired key experts that were looking after the photography department and restricted the access to it. Continuing with a quotation: “The National Media Museum in Bradford is transferring over 300,000 photographs to the V&A and the space it opened at the Science Museum in London in 2013 is rumoured to be closing.”
The Science Museum denied that it would be closing its Media Space gallery. The Hyman collection features famous images including Dafydd Jones’s shot of Nigella Lawson as a student playing croquet, McCartney’s shots of her husband, Paul, balancing on a fence while watching his children, as well as works by Turner Prize-nominated artists such as Sam Taylor-Johnson and Richard Billingham.
Mr Hyman said that Sir Nicholas Serota, who will step down as director of Tate next year, was “personally engaged” in wanting to acquire the collection but his views were not shared by the gallery. “He explained that his senior colleagues are not interested.”
Tate said its directors and curators were “strongly committed” to photography. It said that it had strengthened its holdings of works in recent years and regularly presented critically-acclaimed photography exhibitions. It called its conservation of its collection “world class”.
Mr Hyman said that neither Tate nor the V&A seemed to be able to catalogue their existing collections, let alone new material.
The V&A said that it has catalogued 90 per cent of its photography collection and had taken on two staff to catalogue those from the National Media Museum. It said it planned to raise funds for a new international photography resource centre.