Issue #201  4/6/2014
Phillip Prodger to Head up Photo Collection of London's National Portrait Gallery
Phillip Prodger
© Walter Silver/Peabody Essex Museum
Phillip Prodger © Walter Silver/Peabody Essex Museum

The National Portrait Gallery, London, has appointed Phillip Prodger, who had been founding curator of photography at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, as head of photographs collection, beginning June 1, 2014.

Prodger will lead the Gallery's photographic exhibitions and displays program and oversee the Gallery's Collection of more than 250,000 photographs, which runs from the medium's invention to contemporary photography.

Prodger told the E-Photo Newsletter, "It is really hard to go. This place (Peabody Essex Museum) has been great to me, the people are wonderful, it's a fabulous, progressive museum, and I believe in what we are doing here. My fondest hope is that now we've developed a serious program, an equally serious candidate will come in after me to take over and build on what we've accomplished. The future for photography at PEM is great.

"At the same time, the NPG job is a step up for me. I'll head a busy department, with a wonderful team of curators and cataloguers (including Clare Freestone, Helen Trompeteler, Georgia Atienza and Constantia Nicolaides). The museum receives more than two million visitors a year, and the collection of 250,000 photographs includes some of the great masterworks, especially in the 19th century. Photography is one of the gallery's primary draws, and they're committed to it. I will lead the photo exhibitions program, contemporary photo commissions, and help manage the Taylor Wessing Prize."

Terence Pepper OBE, Hon. FRPS, formerly curator of photographs, has a new part-time role, starting January 2014, as the gallery's senior special advisor on photographs, and will be working on special projects with the exhibitions team until early 2016.

Phillip Prodger, Ph.D. (Cantab.) FRSA, was curator of the National Portrait Gallery's acclaimed exhibition "Hoppé Portraits: Society, Studio and Street" in 2011, and "Ansel Adams: From the Mountains to the Sea", which showed at the Royal Museums Greenwich in 2012. He is the author and editor of 17 books and catalogues, including "Darwin's Camera," named one of the best art and architecture books of 2009 by the New York Times, and "Man Ray/Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism" (2011). In 2013 he was the only curator in the United States to receive a Focus Award, given annually to those making a critical contribution to the promotion, curation and presentation of photography.

Originally from Margate, Kent, Phillip Prodger has held appointments at the National Gallery of Canada, the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. He received a Ph.D. in history of art from the University of Cambridge in 2005. Expert in late 19th/early 20th-century art and photography, he has curated more than 30 exhibitions internationally, including at the Beijing Museum of World Art and the Berlinische Galerie in Germany.

In the interim period from January 1 to May 31, 2014, the photographs team will be led by the Gallery's 20th-century curator, Paul Moorhouse.