Robertson, Grace. (6 of 19). Oral History of British Photography

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  • Recording date

    1993-09-27 and 1993-10-04

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home.

  • Interviewees

    Robertson, Grace, 1930- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Dein, Alan (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 6. Grace Robertson [GR] tells story of being made to wear a dunce’s cap. Comments on the problems caused by her height; story of fighting off boys trying to flush her head down the toilet; overwhelmed by personal remarks. Mentions feeling invisible behind a camera. Story about realising she was attractive. Comments on being abrupt with people; reason for this; realising she had to change; changed her dress; learnt to walk straight; stopped being defensive and aggressive. Describes her childhood; bullying at school; slow to develop; living in the country, no motor car; lonely life; enjoyed visits to see cousins in Montrose. Life during war; family moved to Cheadle Hume, Greater Manchester; story about visiting Wilmslow; living in Manchester; father living in digs; covering windows for air raids; father not allowed to join up because of ulcer; fishing trips with her father. Describes war time home in Kendal, Cumbria; mother’s friends; no electricity; looking after hens.

  • Description

    Performer notes : Grace Robertson was one of the few women photographers to work for the magazine Picture Post. Career as a photographer began in 1949, with Simon Guttmann and the Report agency. Worked as a freelance for Picture Post from 1950-57 until it closed. Then photographed for other British and American publications until 1960. Retrained as a teacher, and returned to photography in the 1980s. Included in the touring exhibition Women Photographers in Britain, National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford (1986). Now active as a photographer and lecturer. Retrospective exhibition has toured UK and her book Grace Robertson, Photojournalist of the 50s was published by Virago in 1989. Daughter of journalist Fyfe Robertson and married to photojournalist Godfrey Thurston Hopkins.

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