Assistant Curator, Photographs (Acquisitions and Collections)
My role involves working across the Gallery’s photographic collection, researching and cataloguing works from all periods and caring for the safe storage of photographs and negatives. I assist with internal and external enquiries, I write biographies of photographers and sitters for the Gallery’s website and help to coordinate loans. I also support the Associate Curator of Photographs and the Head of the department with the documentation and research of all new photographic acquisitions.
Some of the Gallery displays I have worked on include: On belonging: Photographs by Ketaki Sheth; Curators’ Choice: Photographs from the Terence Pepper Gift; Cavendish Morton: A Man of Many Parts; An English Man in New York: Photographs by Jason Bell; Jane Bown Exposures; Bob Dylan 1966 European Tour; Adams, Park & Gregory: Photographs 1910s to 1950s; F.W.H. Myers; Duncan Grant; Victorian Photographs by Elliott & Fry and Bloomsbury & Beyond. Since joining the gallery I have also contributed research to exhibitions including: Beatles to Bowie: 60s Exposed; Ida Kar: Bohemian Photographer and Glamour of the Gods.
I studied History of Art at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Paper Conservation at Camberwell College of Arts. I joined the National Portrait Gallery in 2003, initially cataloguing the Beaton archive in preparation for the exhibition, Beaton Portraits and I was later appointed to research the photographic archive of Lady Ottoline Morrell. This led onto other projects within the photographs department with a particular focus on the early 20th Century collections. Since January 2016 my role focuses more closely on acquisitions and the care and research of the photographic collection (1840s to the present day).
I am fascinated by how visual culture relates to broader historical moments, with a particular interest in film and photography. Other areas of interest include the changing status of photography within museums and early 20th Century artistic practices.
Clare Freestone, Ida Kar: Bohemian Photographer (NPG, 2011), for which I have contributed catalogue entries.
The Virginia Woolf Bulletin, Issue No. 21, January 2006, ‘Virginia Woolf Photographed at Garsington’ by Vanessa Curtis, for which I wrote the Introduction.