Oral History of British Photography. Bohm, Dorothy. (1 of 9)
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1995-01-30 and 1995-02-03
Bohm, Dorothy, 1924- (speaker, female)
Haworth-Booth, Mark, 1941- (speaker, male)
Part 1. Dorothy Bohm was born in 1924 in Konigsberg, the former capital of East Prussia which was transferred after the First World War to Lithuania. Her mother-tongue was German. She talks about her early life and her family, her grandparents and parents. Her father worked initially for Ullstein Verlag in Berlin before setting up his own business in Konigsberg. The family was Jewish but not religious. The family name was Israelit, possibly suggesting a Sephardic origin. Her father was the greatest influence on her life. The children grew up in a cultivated, wealthy milieu. Her father became passionately interested in photography. He owned a Leica and gave her a Contax. She speaks of the Königsberg photographer Eva Silberman, married to a second cousin, who practised an advanced kind of portraiture. It was Eva Silberman’s husband who, later in London, first suggested that Dorothy should consider a career as a photographer. The family moved to Memel, further east in Lithuania, a Baltic town, where the family business was relocated. There were 2000 employees. The work- force was carefully proportioned: one third German, one third Lithuanian and one third Jewish. The factory was organised on modern lines with canteen and showers for the workers.
Performer notes : Documentary photographer and author of many books of photographs, born in Konigsberg, Germany. Emigrated to England in 1939. She studied photography at Manchester College of Technology, where she taught in 1945. Portrait Studio in Manchester from 1945-1960. Long-term involvement with the Photographers Gallery, London, first as Associate Director, then as Trustee and Patron. Retrospective held at the Photographers Gallery in 1994. Publications include Venice (1992) and Dorothy Bohm Colour Photography 1984-94 (1994).