Lesser Known Photography Galleries: Seek Them Out

Lesser Known Photography Galleries: Seek Them Out

If you’re into photography and you’re into galleries, I’m confident you’ve heard of New York’s MoMa, Toronto’s AGO, and London’s Tate Modern. But what about some of the lesser known galleries that are often given short shrift in favor of the bigger iconic galleries?

Take a look at the following galleries if you haven’t heard of them or been lucky enough to check them out: 


Foam is certainly well known, but, standing in the shadow of the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk, and Moco galleries, Foam often slips off the radar. Over the last few years, Foam has recently featured giants such as Erwin Blumenfeld and Anton Corbijn.

Foam’s current show focuses on Alex Prager’s Face in the Crowd undertaking.

Foam is also committed to discovering and featuring new talent:

Foam stands for talent. We scout, follow and present young, talented photographers in order to discover and stimulate exceptional quality. Our goal is to devote timely, focused attention to new relevant developments in photography. 

Ryerson Image Centre

Standing just a few miles from the Art Gallery of Ontario, which routinely stages massively popular photography exhibits, the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) in Toronto, Canada is often overshadowed. However, RIC runs programs that have focused on such luminaries as Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Capa, and Garry Winogrand

The RIC’s longstanding commitment to collecting and connoisseurship is reflected through the continued preservation, study, and display of a wide range of photographic subjects, mediums, and approaches.

The recent acquisition of the Black Star Photography collection should help to raise the profile of the gallery.

Pier 24

Still running shows that are lesser draws than those at SFMOMA, the space at Pier 24 is gorgeous, and quiet. Pier 24 bills itself as

a place to view and think about photography

The gallery is free of charge, but limits attendees with an appointment policy. With enough time and elbow room to really take your time in the gallery, Pier 24 is a joy to attend.

Political charged shows of Richard Misrach and Guillermo Galindo’s work Border Cantos are sure to make Pier 24 a much bigger draw among the wider public.

Pier 24 has also partnered with SFMOMA to hand out the Larry Sultan Photography Award. Most recently to Bieke Deporter:

Palazzo Grassi

Although it's hard to compete in city that is all but a living museum, Palazzo Grassi is an incredible venue to seek out if you find yourself with time to spare. Although the gallery isn't a dedicated photography gallery, over the years they've staged some incredible shows. We were lucky enough to see a sprawling Irving Penn retrospective a few years ago. The show actually staged 82 platinum prints, 29 gelatin silver prints, 5 dye transfer prints and 17 internegatives that had never been shown before.

What are your favorite galleries that don’t usually get top billing?

Would it be useful to see an article every few months highlighting new gallery showings around the world?

Lead image courtesy of @letusgophoto

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dale clark's picture

Great info. Thanks for posting

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

Thanks Dale! Always happy to share. Do you have a favourite gallery?