Museum-goers enter the galleries through an installation of more than 150 cameras spanning 160 years.
Visitors can handle cameras from throughout the ages -- and witness the improvement in technology -- from an 1820s camera obscura, through a 1920s Kodak No.2 Brownie to a 1930s Leica II rangefinder and a 1970s Polaroid 1000 instant camera.
The exhibition includes photojournalism, with 1930s copies of the Picture Post magazine, displaying the realities of war overseas.
The exhibition contains British photography pioneer William Henry Fox
Talbot's 1840s wooden tripod camera and a selection of his cameras and pictures.
The centre includes a project space filled with new works by German photographer Thomas Ruff, digitally reinterpreting Linnaeus Tripe's 1850s paper negatives of India and Burma, bringing modern developing techniques to landmark originals.
The catalyst for developing the new exhibition space was the transfer last year of the Royal Photographic Society's collection of 270,000 photographs, 6,000 cameras and 26,000 books to the V&A.
The museum's archive of more than 800,000 photographs is now one of the world's largest and most important collections of historic and contemporary pictures.
A second section of the centre, due to open in 2022, will include teaching space, a browsing library and a studio for photographers' residencies.
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