Robertson, Grace. (18 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 18. Grace Robertson [GR] describes changing career after having children; money earned by a photo journalist; attempts to become a printer; training as a teacher; course in Twickenham; problems of being a mother and attending classes. Comments on beginning teaching career; school in Brentford; the types of students; enjoyed work but dealing with mother in law who had moved into house. Remarks on teaching life; nearly had a breakdown; Thurston working at West Surrey college, retired when it moved to Farnham; GR put forward for headmistress position; family running out of money; search for a new house. Comments on returning to photography; difficulty of taking photographs while teaching; taking photographs of her own children; phone call from Val Williams. Describes current work; own assignments for BBC and Channel 4; exhibition in America; received award from American women’s photography magazine; Nineties project for BBC. Describes project for Channel 4 series about women in prison; filming of the series and difficulty of taking photographs; treatment of stills photographers by directors; used Leica camera when close to sound mike.

  • 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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