Is Fotografiska New York Worth It?

boldly colored photography inside Fotografiska NYC
by Anisa // 0 Comments

After living in NYC for 13 years, I feel like I have done most of the popular tourist attractions.  This time when I visited I wanted to see something new.  

I decided to check out Fotografiska, although I was hesitant because of the admission price.  Let me share my experience visiting Fotografiska and then help you decide if Fotografiska New York is worth it.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclosure for more information.

three high-heeled shoes under a curtain
Expect to see mostly contemporary work like this piece by Miles Aldridge at Fotografiska in NYC.

What is Fotografiska?

Fotografiska is like a photography museum, but technically it’s not a museum because it doesn’t have a permanent collection.  It’s also not a gallery because it doesn’t have any artwork for sale.

When you go to Fotografiska you will be able to see world-class photography displays that are quite striking and bold.  The exhibitions are always changing, so it’s a new experience any time you go.

There are locations in Stockholm, Tallinn, and Berlin as well as the location that I visited in New York.   Fotografiska in NYC opened in December 2019.

*Book tickets for Fotografiska in advance here and save a few dollars compared to purchasing at the museum.

the arab issue at fotografiska nyc
Expect to see exhibitions that are bold and thought-provoking at Fotografiska NYC.

Visiting Fotografiska

We purchased our timed-entry tickets online in the morning and then arrived at Fotografiska in the afternoon.  There was only one party in front of us, so we were checked in quickly.

Our plan was to take the elevator to the top floor and then work our way down.  Not only was the elevator huge but it was also decorated as part of one of the exhibits.  When the door opened, I wasn’t quite ready for the ride to end, in a weird way, it felt luxurious.

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Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest

picture of ghost forest trees with screen of ghost forest in front at fotografiska nyc
The Ghost Forest was a powerful art installation.

The top floor had an exhibit about Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest.  It’s an art installation that was on view in Madison Square Park from May 10 to November 14, 2021.  Ghost Forest included 49 haunting Atlantic White Cedar trees, each about 40 feet tall, to show the impact of the impending environmental calamity.

exhibit about the ghost forest at fotografiska
It was interesting to get a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at the Ghost Forest.

The exhibit at Fotografiska had some of the drawings, photographs, models, and research that Maya Lin did to create the Ghost Forest.  There was also a film that showed some behind the scenes footage of the installation at Madison Square Park.

Miles Aldridge: Virgin Mary, Supermarkets, Popcorn

unique virgin mary art by miles aldridge
This is not your typical Virgin Mary art.

The “Miles Aldridge: Virgin Mary, Supermarkets, Popcorn” exhibition filled the entire fifth floor of Fotografiksa.  The photographer Miles Aldridge is known for his highly-stylized and vibrant work.  The images we saw were dramatic and unexpected.

Andy Warhol and Ruth Orkin

The fourth floor had two exhibits for two artists who were quite different – Andy Warhol and Ruth Orkin. 

You are probably familiar with Andy Warhol’s art.  We have seen his work at several museums including the Guggenheim in Bilbao and the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, but I didn’t realize he was a photographer as well. 

photos by Andy Warhol at Fotografiska NYC
I hadn’t realized that Andy Warhol did so much with photography.

The exhibition includes 120 photos, some that have never been seen before.  There are polaroids of celebrities including Debbie Harry, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Dolly Parton, Grace Jones, and Keith Haring.

collage of andy warhol photos at Fotografiska nyc
The collages and stitched photos were quite innovative.

You can see some of his experimentation with photography and how it may have influenced his work in other mediums. His photo collages and stitched photos show how he liked repetitive images and make you take a closer look and appreciate details between similar photos.

text "Being a photographer is making people look at what i want them to look at" - Ruth Orkin with photo of a couple
This quote by Ruth Orkin says it perfectly.

The other side of the floor was home to “Expressions of Life” which was a display of Ruth Orkin’s work.  She was a photographer and filmmaker with ties to New York and Hollywood. Her photographs show some everyday scenes that are intimate and evoke emotion.  I also enjoyed seeing scenes from New York’s past.

Hassan Hajjaj Vogue: The Arab Issue

photos from the Vogue Arab Issue fashion shoot
The bold color is not the only things that makes these photographs striking.

The last display we saw was Hassan Hajjaj titled Vogue: The Arab Issue.  Using his native country of Morocco as the backdrop, he created an imaginary fashion photo shoot.  Many models for the photos were veiled but they still were able to show personality and emotion. 

legs series in the arab issue at fotografiska nyc
The Leg Series was a nod to global nomads.

One room featured a series of legs and feet in clashing colors as a metaphor for global nomads.  Back in the old days, everyone would walk everywhere.  I’m sure you heard those stories from your parents or maybe grandparents.

When we visited, the second floor was empty.

Since the exhibits are always changing, you probably won’t see the ones I did.  Still you can get an idea of the types of things that you will see when you visit Fotografiska New York.  Check the programming calendar here.

Fotografiska New York Review

We enjoyed our time at Fotografiska in New York.  The photography was inspiring and the displays were powerful.

It wasn’t too crowded when we went so we felt like we could take our time and enjoy it.  There were places to sit throughout the exhibits and take it all in.

miles aldridge exhibition at fotografiska nyc
I liked what we saw at Fotografiska, I just wish there would have been more.

Still, I felt like it was all over too quickly.  When we visited one of the floors was waiting for a new exhibition to be installed, so there were four floors with art plus the ground floor with the gift shop to see.  

While the floors are not small, the amount of exhibit space is significantly less than other museums (i.e. Met or MOMA) at the same price point.  The quality of the displays was top-notch, but I wish there had been more.

photo of spilled ketchup and feet by miles aldridge
We loved the creativity and the quality of the works we saw at Fotografiska NYC.

Is Fotografiska Worth Visiting?

Yes.  While it is small, it does have a lot to offer in terms of high-quality and original photography.

I agree the admission price at $26 seems a bit high, but if you are interested in photography, you will enjoy it.   Keep reading for a couple suggestions on how to save money on your entrance fee.

If it is your first time visiting NYC, then it might be better to see some of the bigger tourist attractions first.

How to Save on Fotografiska New York Tickets

As of November 2021, tickets through the Fotografiska website are $26.  You can save a few dollars by getting your tickets in advance here.   There is even the option to add on a drink.

The most affordable way to go to Fotografiska (if you are planning to also visit some of NYC’s top attractions) is to get one of the New York attraction passes that includes it.  The New York Pass does, get more details here.

colorful display from the arab issue exhibition at Fotografiska
There may not have been as much to see as other museums, but it was high-quality and the displays were excellent.

How Long Does it Take to Visit Fotografiska New York?

I would allow around 90 minutes to see the exhibits at Fotografiska.

Is there a cafe at Fotografiska NYC?

Yes.  The ground floor has a cafe and gift shop.  It’s mainly light bites and drinks.

If you are looking for a place for a meal near Fotografiska, Rosa Mexicano, one of my favorite restaurants in the city, is a short walk away.  It’s quite popular so it’s best to make a reservation.

table by the window at the cafe in Fotografiska NYC
You can get drinks and snacks at the Fotografiska Cafe.

Things to do near Fotografiska New York

Since it doesn’t take too long to see Fotografiska, you might want to see some other attractions nearby while you are in the area.  Here are a few ideas:

Madison Square Park:  It’s more than just your typical park.  There is usually an interesting art installation like the Ghost Forest and it’s also home to the original Shake Shack.

Flat Iron Building: It’s one of the most instagrammable buildings in NYC.  You can find it where 5th Avenue meets and 23rd Street.

Eataly: It’s much more than just a store selling Italian Food.  There are classes, demonstrations, and restaurants to enjoy too.  Get more details here.

Five Iron Golf: Try out golf simulators for a high-tech, inclusive urban golf experience for golfers and non-golfers alike. They offer lessons too.  Get more information here.

Are there other photography museums in NYC?

Yes.  Fotografiska is not the only photography museum in New York City.  If you are interested in photography, you might also want to go to the International Center of Photography, which is located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

While not dedicated to photography, MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of the City of New York all have large photography collections.

Is Fotografiska New York good for kids?

Not really.  It’s definitely more geared to adults, it doesn’t have interactive exhibits like many children’s museums do.  Fotografiska also deals with some mature subjects.

some photos that are a bit provocative from the miles aldridge exhibit at fotografiska nyc
There were some works on display at Fotografiska that I didn’t photograph because they were a bit too provocative.

How do you get to Fotografiska NYC?

It’s easy to get to Fotografiska by taking the subway.  The closest stop is on the 6 train at 23rd and Park.  It’s just a short walk from there.

The museum is inside the Church Missions House at 281 Park Avenue South.  It’s on the east side of the street between 22nd and 21st streets.

Have you been to Fotografiska in NYC or one of the other locations? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments.

If you want to go, get your tickets in advance here.


Pin for Later

andy warhol exhibition at fotografiska nyc

Expert Tips for Visiting Fotografiska

  • Use the New York Pass or but your tickets through Tiqets to save on admission.
  • Check the website to see what exhibitions will be on when you visit.
  • If you are planning a trip to NYC, grab my free NY Hotel Cheat Sheet here.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we will receive a small commission for some purchases made using links in our blog with no additional cost to you.  Please be assured we would not promote any product unless we believe that our readers will also benefit.  The commission does not influence the editorial content of this site.

Last Updated on May 14, 2024

About the Author

Anisa is an experienced international traveler with extra pages in her passport and stamps from 41 different countries across 5 continents (and counting). She was born and raised in Texas. After a 13 year stint in NYC, she moved to England to live with her husband.