Tate Britain is to put on an exhibition in May that presents a photographic portrait of Britain from the invention of the medium to the present day.

Opening on 22 May at Tate Britain, it will show the extraordinary variety, scope and diversity of one-and-a-half centuries of photography in the UK, uncovering a range of remarkable stories about British life.

Displayed broadly chronologically, the Tate says that "How We Are" will include over 500 images by 100 photographers.

Works by celebrated figures such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Roger Fenton, Madame Yevonde, Cecil Beaton, Bill Brandt, David Bailey, Martin Parr, Elaine Constantine and Tom Hunter will hang alongside images by less-familiar photographers, who have observed and documented the country’s celebrities, street life, landscape as well as their own lives and obsessions.

Highlights include formal portraits by Julia Margaret Cameron of illustrious Britons such as Alfred Lord Tennyson, photographs of Nelson’s column under construction by Henry Fox Talbot, Homer Sykes’s images of quirky traditional English festivals and eccentric customs, the Sassoon family’s private album, Percy Hennell’s pioneering colour photographs British Women Go to War, Jane Bown’s gritty images of protestors on Greenham Common in the eighties, Vanley Burke’s images documenting the life of the black community in Britain, Stephen Dalton’s dramatic images of suburban garden wildlife, Zed Nelson’s portraits of contemporary beauty contests, studio portraits taken by Grace Lau, and Paul Graham’s photographs of life on the A1 including service cafés, people, architecture and landscape.