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Helen Trompeteler is a curator and writer with over twenty years of experience specializing in photography. Helen began her career at the National Portrait Gallery, London (2002-2016), where she curated and co-curated over twenty exhibitions, including Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon and Man Ray Portraits, which were accompanied by major international publications.

As Senior Curator of Photographs at the Royal Collection (2016-20), Helen led strategic partnerships that diversified representation in its collections and expanded institutional approaches through collaborative practice. From 2018-19, Helen participated in the Museums Association Transformers leadership program, which pursues up-to-date approaches on the civic role of art and museum spaces.

Since 2022, Helen has served as Deputy Director of Programs at Silver Eye Center for Photography. She provides curatorial leadership for a diverse schedule of exhibitions and programs that support and share the vision of emerging and underrepresented artists.

Exhibitions at Silver Eye Center for Photography

Silver Eye promotes the power of contemporary photography as a fine art medium. Since 2022, Helen has curated exhibitions in collaboration with a diverse selection of contemporary artists. Explore all current and previous exhibitions online, and subscribe to Silver Eye’s newsletter for future updates!

Installation view of Fellowship 22: Dylan Everett, Jenna Garrett, Eva Alcántara. Image credit: Sean Carroll / Silver Eye Center for Photography.

Moments of Transition: the photographs of Grace Robertson

Online exhibition co-curated with Catlin Langford for the 2021 Photo Oxford Festival

In the mid-1950s, Grace Robertson (1930-2021) was one of the few women photojournalists working for the British magazine Picture Post. This online exhibition explores Robertson’s humanistic lens on women’s lives and post-war Britain. Produced with the support of Getty Images Hulton Archive.

From the series ‘Mother’s Day Off’, 1954 © The Grace Robertson / Thurston Hopkins Archive

Prince Albert: His Life and Legacy

Project Manager and Lead Curator

From 2017-2020, Helen was the project manager and lead curator of this collaborative digitization project, which made available some 22,000 items from the Royal Collection, Royal Archives, and Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. Explore more at

A general view of Rome by T Carr, 1854 © Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

Photo50, London Art Fair

17-21 January 2018

Curated by Hemera Collective, which specializes in photography and lens-based media. Helen is a former member and contributed to Photo50 in 2018.

© Foundland Collective, The New World, Episode 1, 2017, video still. (

Josef Breitenbach Research Fellowship, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona


Project ‘Shared Vision: Experiments in Photography Education: 1945-1975’ sought to examine the history of photography education in the US in the post-war period.

Photography class at Black Mountain College © Barbara Morgan / Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon 

2 July – 18 October 2015


This record-breaking exhibition, organized with support from the Audrey Hepburn Estate, examined the development and lasting legacy of Hepburn’s image.

Installation photograph © Tori Miller / National Portrait Gallery, London

Snowdon: A Life in View

26 September 2014 – 21 June 2015

This display celebrated a major gift of photographs from Lord Snowdon to the National Portrait Gallery in 2013, and coincided with a new monograph published by Rizzoli.

Installation photograph © Tori Miller / National Portrait Gallery, London

Michael Peto Photographs: Mandela to McCartney 

17 September 2013 – 1 June 2014

This series of displays in London, Edinburgh, and New York, organized in collaboration with the University of Dundee, explored the work of photojournalist Michael Peto.

Installation photograph © Tori Miller / National Portrait Gallery, London

Man Ray Portraits 

7 February – 27 May 2013

Associate Curator

This first major museum retrospective of Man Ray’s innovative photographic portraits featured over a hundred works surveying his career in America and Paris between 1916-68.

Self-portrait with Camera by Man Ray, 1930. © 2008 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris 2012

Fred Daniels: Cinema Portraits 

28 September 2012 – 24 March 2013

This display celebrated the career of Fred Daniels, pioneer of ‘stills’ and portrait photography, known especially for his work with filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, including A Matter of Life and Death (1946).

Filming Victoria the Great (1937) by Fred Daniels © Estate of Fred Daniels

Twentieth Century Portraits: Photographs by Dmitri Kasterine 

11 September 2010 – 3 April 2011

Dmitri Kasterine began his career working for Jocelyn Steven’s Queen magazine before enjoying a long association with film director Stanley Kubrick. This display of portraits presented a cross-section of major cultural figures of the twentieth century.

Dame Muriel Spark by Dmitri Kasterine, 1978. © Dmitri Kasterine (

Format Photography Agency: 1983-2003 

21 January – 8 August 2010

Format photographers documented epoch-changing events such as the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (1981-2000) and the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike, and participated in movements that brought social change.

Women protestors at Greenham Common, 1983 © Estate of Raissa Page

Jane Bown: Exposures 

1 December 2009 – 5 April 2010

This display coincided with the publication of Jane Bown’s book Exposures (2009). Photographs for The Observer were shown alongside unpublished pictures for the first time. 

Southend on Sea, Essex, 1954 © Estate of Jane Bown