What to do in your Reading Week: a guide to Europe’s photography galleries

After a seemingly endless summer, uni has officially started. The average student’s life now comprises solely of lengthy hungover lecture hours and mentally crippling visits to the library. All are waiting impatiently for the next silver lining of the year: reading week. As everyone around you is making plans to go home or visit friends abroad, you come to the realisation that you don’t have any projects at all. Don’t worry; this is where CUB comes to your rescue. Here is a list of the finest photography expositions and galleries around Europe right now – useful to tailor your dream city trip.

1. Fotografiska Museet, STOCKHOLM, Sweden
Situated on the bank of one of Stockholm’s largest ports, Fotografiska houses one of the biggest collections of contemporary photography in the world. A number of remarkable expositions are on display right now, ranging from home-grown Paul Hansen’s Being There to, most notably, Vivianne Sassen’s UMBRA. Since the building is perched on the river that runs through the entire city, the museum also features a rooftop with gorgeous views of Stockholm. Now is the perfect time to visit, as there are still plenty of daylight hours.

2. CAMERA WORK, BERLIN, Germany                                                                                                                                                                         Berlin has long been one of Europe’s top destinations for arts and culture. There are myriad possibilities for the visitor passing through Berlin – but this is the one you really cannot miss. Named after the artists’ magazine of 1903, CAMERA WORK owns one of the world’s most extensive private photography collections, comprising vintage as well as modern work from some of the most famous photographers in the history of photography.

3. MuCEM, MARSEILLE, France
Admittedly, the MuCEM is not specifically a photography museum, nonetheless it deserves a spot on my list. Firstly, because they have their fair share of photography but secondly and more importantly, Marseille is one of the hidden gems of France. Plus, it is the place to be for guaranteed sunshine in mid-November. Having opened in 2013, the MuCEM is still relatively new. It was built when Marseille was the cultural capital and is part of an effort to gentrify the city. To be honest, the building itself is worth visiting just because of its extraordinary construction – and that is before you have seen any of the exhibitions. The museum’s spectacular, modern architectural features are tailored to fit between the ancient structure of Marseille’s port. Additionally, as it focuses on civilizations and people throughout history, MuCEM is a slightly dissimilar institution. This results in a highly varied mix of expositions, meaning everyone can find something to suit their taste.

4. Fifty One Gallery, ANTWERP, Belgium
As Antwerp is my hometown, I could be biased, but Gallery Fifty One really is one of the most reputed photo galleries in Europe. They specialise in fine art photography, dealing with both young emerging photographers and established artists from the 20th and 21st century. Experimental but not too abstract, relatable but not too simple; that’s what Fifty One stands for, and it has paid off. Now recognised as a major player worldwide, they have opened an office in New York and a second gallery in Antwerp. The success story is far from ending and for Londoners, a visit is just a two-hour train ride away.

 

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