Curator, Photographs (Content and Interpretation)
As Curator of Photographs (Content and Interpretation) I curate the annual Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize and develop photography displays. Recent examples include Thomas Ruff Portraits, We Are Family, Double Take: Akram Zaatari and the Arab Image Foundation; David Gwinnutt: Before We Were Men; Out of the Shadows: Portraits by the Douglas Brothers; and the touring display, Speak it’s Name!, celebrating LGBTQ voices at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent. I also generate interpretation for permanent collection displays and contribute to Gallery publications.
I became interested in photography while reading History of Art and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, and took an MA degree in Photography (Historical and Contemporary) at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London. After graduating I assisted a contemporary artist and completed an internship at the arts organisation Autograph ABP, contributing to the exhibitions James Barnor: Ever Young and The Paris Albums 1900: W.E.B. Du Bois. I received an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award in 2010, completing a PhD in post-war Polish photography, jointly supervised by the University of Essex and Tate. Before being appointed Associate Curator of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery in 2016, I lectured on the history and theory of photography.
My research interests focus on twentieth century photography, with a particular interest in Eastern European art. In 2013, I convened and chaired an international research seminar at Tate Modern on post-war Central and East European photography with Karolina Ziębińska-Lewandowska, and presented a paper on Zofia Rydet’s photographic atlas of Polish domestic life at the 2015 Tate conference, Fast Forward: Women in Photography.
My doctoral thesis draws on psychoanalytic theories of trauma to interrogate works produced by Polish photographers in the wake of the Second World War, years in which Poland underwent a series of transitions and changes. I explore the ways in which these experiences manifest themselves indirectly or obliquely in the art of the period. Photographs made in the post-war years provided a space to belatedly return to encrypted traumas, to relay ideas that could not otherwise be articulated, and to acknowledge events that had been disavowed.
I have contributed essays on ‘Portraiture and Celebrity’; ‘Subjective Photography in Europe’, and ‘Subjective Photography in the USA’ to the Thames & Hudson publication, Photography: The Whole Story, and contributed articles on twentieth century photography for the Tate website.
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize (National Portrait Gallery, 2016; 2017)
‘The Woman Behind Photography’ (online article, 2016)
Essays on post-war photography in Juliet Hacking, ed. Photography: The Whole Story (Thames & Hudson, 2012)
‘Challenging the Order of Things: a call to arms in Karen Knorr’s Academies’ (exhibition catalogue, 2009)