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], ‘I can tell you we are starting off by showing things that have been acquired since Tate Modern opened,’ says Baker, ‘so visitors can really see the collection shifting – new geographies, more performance, more photographs, more women’.
“You have this crazy situation in Manhattan,” he tells me, “where there are thousands of photographs by Lee Friedlander, because three of their museums have collected him. A lot of our thinking is about what we shouldn’t have.
“This is going to be an interesting test for me,” quips Simon Baker, curator of photography at Tate, whose crowded rooms we are striding through at a fair old clip, one Friday in May.
His long-limbed form, immaculately swept hair and Pre-Raphaelite beard weave between the lunchtime crowds of rucksacks and buggies with a practiced ease as we head in search of the photographs dispersed throughout levels two and four of Tate Modern, as part of the recent change.
Having said that, a lot of it is about Tate starting its collection so late – we have to be much more grounded in terms of our aspirations.
We can’t ask our supporters to stump up the 0,000 a single Alfred Stieglitz print was selling for at last year’s Frieze Masters, when we could acquire a whole collection of Latin American modernist photography for a similar price.” Since Baker arrived at Tate in 2009, the museum’s collection of photographs has quadrupled in size, from around 1000 to some 4000 objects.