Press "Enter" to skip to content

Curating

Helen Trompeteler is a curator and writer deeply committed to supporting the vision of underrepresented artists working with photography. As Deputy Director of Programs at Silver Eye Center for Photography, she provides curatorial expertise for original exhibitions, leads artist relations, and manages education programs, including Scholars @ Silver Eye.

Previously, Helen spent eighteen years leading strategic partnerships and exhibitions for internationally recognized collections, including the Royal Collection and the National Portrait Gallery. Highlight projects in these roles included Prince Albert: His Life and Legacy and the touring exhibitions and books Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon and Man Ray Portraits. Her independent practice has been recognized by the Josef Breitenbach Research Fellowship (Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona) and the Transformers initiative (Museums Association, UK).

Selected exhibitions and curatorial projects

Silver Eye Center for Photography

2022 – Present

Since 2022, Helen has curated and co-curated solo and group exhibitions at Silver Eye in collaboration with nationally recognized artists, such as Kelli Connell and Natalie Krick, Whitney Hubbs and Patricia Voulgaris, and Hannah Price. A selection of flagship Silver Eye exhibition programs are also introduced below.

Subscribe to Silver Eye’s newsletter to keep up to date with news and explore past exhibitions at silvereye.org

Image credit: Tara Geyer / Silver Eye Center for Photography.

Visiting Curator and Writer, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

January – April 2024

Every year, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago invites a curator/writer of photography to collaborate with the cohort of MFA Photography students to develop a publication of current student work. Helen was honored to be the 2024 visiting curator and writer, working with the students alongside project coordinator Jan Tichy and designer Lucas Reif to curate the 2024 publication. Learn more about some of the artists by exploring their 2024 Graduate Exhibitions online.

Radial Survey Vol.3

2 November 2023 – 3 February 2024

Co-curated with Leo Hsu

Radial Survey is Silver Eye’s flagship biennial exhibition featuring preeminent emerging and mid-career photographic artists based within 300 miles of Pittsburgh. This third edition’s artists, Akea Brionne, Larry W. Cook, Alanna Fields, Marissa Long, Eduardo L. Rivera, Shane Rocheleau, and Lisa Toboz, invite us to explore the relationships between presence, visibility, and absence.

Learn more at silvereye.org

Installation view of Radial Survey Vol.3. Image credit: Sean Carroll / Silver Eye Center for Photography.

Emerging Visions

From October 24, 2023

Produced in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Emerging Visions presents work by Sobia Ahmad, Anqwenique Kinsel, and Evangeline Mensah-Agyekum. This multi-site public art exhibition in Downtown Pittsburgh aims to provide meaningful encounters in an environment that tens of thousands of residents, workers, and passers-by experience each day.

Learn more at silvereye.org

Photographs by Evangeline Mensah-Agyekum in Emerging Visions, December 2023. Image courtesy Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Fellowship

2022 – Present

For over twenty years, Silver Eye has supported vital new voices in contemporary photography through Fellowship, its annual international juried photography competition. Since 2022, Helen has been honored to collaborate with each year’s Fellowship artists to curate exhibitions of their work that explore the myriad ways photography shapes our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Learn more about Fellowship 24!

Installation view of Fellowship 24: Image credit: Sean Carroll / Silver Eye Center for Photography.

Pittsburgh Presents

2022 – Present

At Silver Eye, Helen curates initiatives highlighting the work of extraordinary image-makers in the local community in Pittsburgh. This includes the ongoing Pittsburgh Presents series, which has exhibited the work of local artists including Nicole Czapinski, Zeal Eva, Karen Lue, and Centa Schumacher.

Learn more at silvereye.org

Installation view of Zeal Eva: Gentle Landing. 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. This project’s impact included an audience of 194 million at the press launch and 1.4 million for the accompanying television program Prince Albert: A Victorian Hero Revealed. Explore more at albert.rct.uk

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. (http://www.foundland.info/)

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

2016

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

Co-curator

This exhibition was the first major UK exhibition to examine the photographic iconography of Audrey Hepburn and was organized with support from the Audrey Hepburn Estate. The exhibition achieved a record-breaking figure of 126,687 visitors. Helen was the lead author for the catalog which received extensive international sales, including French, German, and Japanese language editions.

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. It included previously unseen portraits and new selections from the highly influential book Private View (1965) which examined the British art world.

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. This exhibition was the first of the National Portrait Gallery’s to tour to Russia (State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts), which offered new opportunities for cultural exchange.

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 (https://www.kasterine.com/)

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