Picture: The Wall by John Davies, 1987
The NMM, which is based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, has acquired around 5,000 photos from the Impressions Gallery, which is also located in the city.
The collection includes work by renowned photographers such as Cecil Beaton, Martin Parr and Fay Godwin.
The museum, which already holds 3.5 million items in its collection, says the gallery donated the images as a gift.
‘The aim of the partnership… is to make this rich period of British photographic exhibiting history available to curators, scholars, photographers and the wider public,’ said the Impressions Gallery and NMM in a statement.
The gallery’s projects co-ordinator Angela Sheard told Amateur Photographer: ‘The gallery has supported and encouraged new emerging photographers who have challenged and changed photography – it is known for taking risks, often working with photographers on their first major commission, as was the case with Martin Parr and Daniel Meadows way back in 1972.’
NMM boss Jo Quinton-Tulloch said she was ‘thrilled to secure ‘such an important archive’.
The archive also boasts around 10,000 items of ‘paraphernalia’ relating to the gallery’s exhibitions, such as posters, press prints and correspondence.
Other photographers featured in the collection include Julian Germain, Anna Fox and Joy Gregory.
Impressions Gallery director Anne McNeill said: ‘Impressions Gallery has played an incisive role in expanding people’s perceptions and understanding of photography.
The gallery points out that in the late 1980s and early 1990s it was
‘the first in the UK to show photographic work responding to the AIDS
‘To coincide with achieving our milestone 40th anniversary, we are delighted to realise the next steps in the development and long-term preservation of our archived materials.’
The NMM says it has set about cataloguing the items.