The Boston based region that exists in the art of photography, with all that entails, is very rich. It is also my home.There are many many schools that teach photography here, many artists practicing it, several galleries that specialize in it, two non-profits that show it and provide programming for it, museums that show it and collect it, numerous A-list artists that live in it and a long history of exhibitions and significant events centered around it.
That being said, it has had and continues to have its problems. The region includes for all intents and purposes areas as far south as Providence and as far north as Portland, Maine and as far west as Worcester (try going east and you're in the water). It has a core museum (the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, the MFA) which is classically negligent about local talent, galleries don't sell well, the two non-profits, the Photographic Resource Center (PRC) in Boston and the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester are under funded and can be under appreciated at times though both have wonderful programming.
Nevertheless, I am today writing to praise one of our heroes, Phillip Prodger. Phillip has been the curator of photography at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem for about 6 years. He is leaving for the National Portrait Gallery in London. Philip has done a really tremendous amount to promote photography to a broader public and to make truly wonderful and important exhibitions at the PEM.
Imagine a major museum having as its photo curator a person who increased awareness of and appreciation for photography to a wide audience, who was accessible and helpful to many individual local photographers, who knows his field thoroughly, is warm and personable and you can sum up Phillip.
It is with mixed feelings that I wish Phillip well. He is needed here and will be sorely missed. But I also wish him the best of possible times in London. His successor at PEM has very large shoes to fill.
All the best, Phillip.