Phillip Prodger

About me

I have been Head of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, London, since 2014.

I received my Ph.D. in art history from Cambridge University, where I am a member of Darwin College, a graduate college in central Cambridge on the banks of the beautiful River Cam. I went to Cambridge after study at Williams College (B.A.) and Stanford University (M.A.). I attended high school in Hong Kong, where I lived for a number of years, and also studied briefly at the University of Hong Kong.

My first professional job was as Lecturer in Art at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, where I taught for about a year and a half. I later became Curatorial Assistant at the Stanford University Museum of Art (now called the Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford), and in 2001 I became Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs at the Saint Louis Art Museum. I also spent about two years as an intern in the Department of Prints, Drawings, Paintings and Photographs at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and worked part-time as Assistant Archivist in the photograph and manuscript collections of the Department of Experimental Psychology at Cambridge. In 2008, I became founding Curator of Photography at the Peabody Essex Museum, where I managed one of the oldest and largest photography collections in the United States.

In 2001 I was named a short-term fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, and from 2007-8 I was the Lisette Model and Joseph G. Blum Fellow in History of Photography at the National Gallery of Canada, where I worked on a project exploring the history of focus. In 2016, I became one of twelve senior arts administrators selected to join the Oxford University Cultural Leaders Programme, and in 2017 I was named the annual Mellon Fellow at the British School at Rome.