South East Wales

David Hurn photo archive gifted to National Museum Wales

Outdoor group fitness early in the morning in the retirement Sun City, Arizona. Ages range from 60 to a 94 year old who had run a 50secs hundred meters in the Senior Olympics Image copyright David Hurn/Magnum Photos
Image caption People aged 60 to 94 take part in an outdoor group fitness session in Arizona, US, in 1980

Thousands of images taken by renowned documentary photographer David Hurn have been donated to National Museum Wales.

The Magnum agency photographer has gifted 1,500 photos taken over his 60-year career and 700 images from his private collection.

They include some of his most celebrated work taken worldwide as well as photographs of his native Wales.

They will go on display at the museum in Cardiff from 30 September.

Over the past six decades, Mr Hurn has amassed a large private collection of images, gathered mainly through swapping works with fellow photographers.

They include French humanist photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and American photojournalist Eve Arnold, as well as emerging talent such as Clementine Schneidermann, whose photographs of Abertillery, in Blaenau Gwent, won the 2016 Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award.

Image copyright David Hurn/Magnum Photos
Image caption People enjoy the view from the promenade in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, in 1974

Mr Hurn has spent the past two years selecting images from his own archive to create an edit of his life's work for the museum.

The collection of 1,500 new prints includes photos taken across the UK, Arizona, California and New York.

It features some of his most celebrated work, such as images of debutants at Queen Charlotte's Ball in 1967 and pictures of Jane Fonda on the film set of Barbarella.

But photographs of Wales will form the main focus of the collection.


Mr Hurn, who now lives and works in Wales, chose the museum because of the fond memories he had of visiting as a child.

"My earliest visual/cultural memories are visiting the museum when I must have been four or five," he said.

"I remember the naughty statue - Rodin's The Kiss - and cases full of stuff that people had donated.

"Well now I have the chance to repay, something of mine will be there forever, I feel very privileged."

Mr Hurn's donation means National Museum Wales holds the largest collection of his work worldwide and the museum said the archive would "transform" its photography collections.

Director David Anderson added: "We are extremely grateful to David Hurn for this generous gift, which will drive this important and much needed photography programme for Amgueddfa Cymru, benefiting the people of Wales and those further afield."

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