London: A Cultural Mecca. From Museums to Art Galleries
A trip to London for anyone who does not make it into the city on a regular basis will often include the intention of going to at least one gallery. This is the injection of culture that we have been craving after months of lockdown.
So where do you start? There are the familiar, family friendly big hitting London Galleries: The National Portrait Gallery, The Tate Modern and the Tate Britain. Best in class for classic, modern and post modern art exhibitions, and understandably first on many tourists’ to do lists. Further West there is Museum corner, where you can lose a day (or four) wandering through the endless eclecticism of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and then cross the road to expand your mind with scientific and historic fact at The Science Museum and the Natural History Museum.
But London has a lot more to offer than just these mainstream popular choices. For a more discerning customer with contemporary taste, London also hosts some of the most exciting photography galleries and exhibitions in the world. London has always been an incubator for new talent and a place to discover or rediscover artists, photographers and influencers.
Proud Galleries: London’s most famous Photography Gallery
What if you wanted to explore the largest collection of pop and rock icons, captured both at the beginnings of their careers and throughout their stratospheric rise, follow their re-emergence or revel in their continued fame over the decades. Images of the biggest names in popular culture, both British and International. Bands and artists such as: Elton John, Prince, The Clash, David Bowie, Tina Turner, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, The Who, Beyonce, Chuck Berry, Blondie, Adam Ant, Steve Jobs, Oasis, Nirvana… Where could you go where you could see all these band pictures and more next to each other? Proud Galleries.
Proud Galleries was established in 1998 by Alex Proud and previously situated in Camden Town North London. Subsequent Galleries were opened in Chelsea and Central London and the current Strand Photography Gallery address is: 32 John Adams Street, in the West End, a short walk from Charing Cross or Embankment station. Truly the Gallery is at the heart of London as Charing Cross was traditionally marked as the ‘centre’ of London and it is to there that all sign posts to ‘London’ point, and to there, that distances ‘to London’ are measured. A fitting place for a photography gallery London that holds the largest collection of iconic pop photography images captured by some of the biggest and at some points almost forgotten photographers of 20th Century.
Proud’s Unique Collection of Photographers
The Proud gallery has collected and exhibited images of the biggest movers and shakers in the last 100 years, the largest collection of authenticated, hand signed, estate embossed, limited edition & vintage photography and fine art prints.
A large section of the collection is now online and can be viewed by the icon or, and maybe just as importantly, by the photographer, allowing for detailed and engaging perusing when searching for that dream inspiring image to hang.
Proud Gallery has a unique and special collection. It displays the work of photographers that have captured some of the most iconic people in the world on their rise to fame, photographs of the famous before they where truly global stars. A quick tour of the gallery and we have the Beatles pictures in the 60’s captured by Robert Whitaker, Blondie in the 70’s by Brian Aris and Adrian Boot, Billy Idol captured by Michael Grecco in ’82, Steve Double on Oasis, Amy Winehouse in 2003 by Charles Moriarty alongside archive images of Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Clash and The Damned.
The photographs from these photographers preserve unique moments in time, those that capture a feeling of a generation, a change in society, an ‘out with the old and in with the new’.
Images and Moments in Time:
Beatle-mania saw a generation of lost youth find their voice and cast off the Neo-Victorian mentality of their post war parents.
Bob Marley setting out on his quest to find a voice for people all over the world that had no voice.
The rise of the punk era with the notorious Sex Pistols and over the pond the much crisper New Wave sound of Blondie.
The huge technological changes that allowed rising pop stars of the 80’s to reach new levels of fame via MTV and the ubiquitous walkman.
Digital age super stars such as Steve Jobs, Kings and Queens of fashion through the decades including: Jerry Hall, Audrey Hepburn, Pattie Boyd.
Stars of film that inspired, and continue to inspire, generation after generation with their image and fashion choices, like the infamous Steve McQueen.
You can delve deep into this imagery and reflect on the impact these people had and still have on popular culture globally. They touch on so many aspects of our lives, not only on the glamorous fashion catwalks and arena stages, but through subtle advertising messages, and the development of newer artistic outlets via our iPhones and screens. Their legacy inspires us, propels us, and motivates us to be something new, bold, different, bad or beautiful
Exhibitions of Photographers at Proud Galleries
The connections between music photography and social change go hand in hand, history has a beat, a music and a sound that the people at the time where listening to, and being inspired by.
Proud Galleries has often been a drummer keeping that beat. The Gallery has hosted numerous exhibitions focusing on key rock and roll, punk and new wave artists or the photographers that helped shape artists into icons.
Previous exhibitions have focused on the work of: Bob Dylan, Adam Ant, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The End of Generation X, The punk scene. Alongside that fashion highlights included exhibitions of: ’The Dior Collection’ and Audrey Hepburn.
Proud’s archive is on display in exhibitions at several venues across London and in the the South East of the UK.
The main Strand Photography Gallery at 32 John Adams Street is split over two levels.
In the upper gallery, we have recently had a focus on David Stetson: showcasing the photographer's Fashion, Celebrity and Tokyo Underground series. An exhibition inviting the viewer to delve into multiple themes depicting stylish, intimate and playful colour and black and white portraiture.
In the lower gallery and also on display at Proud Embankment (accessible to ticket holders of Proud’s Cabaret shows only) there is an ongoing Best of Proud collection featuring a carefully curated selection of Pop Culture photography. On our walls hang photographs by legendary photographers including Terry O’Neill, Douglas Kirkland, Norman Parkinson, Bill Wyman, Adrian Boot, Chris Stein, David McCabe, Brian Aris, David Montgomery, Jerry Schatzberg, Markus Klinko, Andrew Birkin, Lew Allen, Michael Brennan, Stephen Wright, Paul Joyce, Dixie Dean & Mark Shaw to name a few.
Proud Cabaret Brighton, Proud’s intimate and eccentric cabaret venue on the south coast has several iconic images hanging on its walls including: Adrian Boot’s fantastic piece of work THE CLASH VS. SEX PISTOLs. Adrian Boot, one of Britain’s best-known music photographers, began his career in the early 1970’s freelancing for NME, Melody Maker, The Times, The Guardian and The Face. Adrian regularly works with the World Photography Organisation and continues to travel throughout India, Asia, Africa and Jamaica, searching for and promoting positive images of the planet and its people. Adrian was at the heart of documenting the punk scene in the U.K. and the U.S.
Proud Galleries has also recently run a collaborative exhibition with London’s Montcalm East showcasing an array of London-made artwork, carefully curated by Culture A.
Highlights include a street-art-inspired textile by London-based print artist Lisa King, a large-scale, hand-painted illustrative mural by Hackney-resident, Carlos Penalver, and collaborations with partners such as Ravensbourne, University of London, Hoxton Mini Press & Proud Galleries.
Featured photographers include Duffy, Adrian Boot, Eric Swayne, Robert Whitaker, Tom Hanley, Brian Aris, Andrew Birkin & Dean Chalkley.
Coming up in 2022 we have a series of exciting exhibitions including LEW ALLE and MARKUS KLINKO.
Proud Galleries Online:
In the wake of Covid, Proud has moved quickly to take the vast majority of its archive online, to provide its audience and followers with an unparalleled insight into the breadth of its collection. To allow everyone, wherever they are in the world the ability to tour it’s exhibitions virtually even if not in person.
The Gallery scene online is as important now as the physical Gallery scene ever was, with many feeling the impact of recent times deeply and turning to art for comfort and relief. Proud Galleries offers a unique and relevant contemporary collection accessible to all tastes and to amateur and professional collectors alike. Dip into our online archive, or if you can, come to visit us in our London Gallery to feel inspired, uplifted and connected to past and present culture and creativity.
Photo by Negative Space: https://www.pexels.com/photo/london-telephone-booth-long-exposure-lights-6618/