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The proprietor of the gallery, Laurence Miller, began his gallery career with the Quivira Photography Gallery in New Mexico, where Miller was affiliated with the art department of University of New Mexico. After serving as assistant director of the Light Gallery in New York, and a showing of his own photographs at the M.F.A. Gallery of the Rochester Institute of Technology, Miller opened a gallery in his own name in 1984 on East 57th Street. In 1986, the gallery moved to a larger space on Spring Street, and moved to West 57th Street in 1998. The following year, the gallery published a portfolio of prints by late photojournalist Larry Burrows, with the assistance of his son Russell Burrows.
In 1995 it was reported that "[t]he Laurence Miller Gallery specializes in showing established contemporary photographers in its main room; currently on exhibit is "Berlin Before the Wall," works by German photographer Arno Fischer. But the gallery also mounts exhibitions of vintage prints in its smaller, adjoining space". In 1999, Miller advocated for giving equal treatment to digital and non-digital photography, stating that "[y]ou wouldn't ask a poet, 'Did you use a keyboard or a pen to write your poem?'" By 2005, it was reported that the gallery "has presented more than two hundred exhibitions that span the history of photography". In 2014, the gallery celebrated its 30th Anniversary "with a show of work by 31 photographers it has represented or shown over the years". The gallery participated in The Armory Show in 2019.