The V&A began acquiring photographs in 1852, and its collection is now one of the largest and most important in the world.
The history of the photography collection in the V&A is closely connected with the development of the Museum as a whole. Its first director, Henry Cole, was an amateur photographer himself and a great supporter of the art of photography.
He began a photography collection in 1856, the year that the South Kensington Museum, now the V&A, was established. Since then, the collection has grown to be international in scope and comprises over 300,000 images dating from 1839 to the present.
Photography can be seen as a combination of science and art, in which advances in technique continually feed creativity and artistic achievement.