The Independent London Newspaper
26th April 2019

How photographer Dorothy is still snapping the streets at 93

    Dorothy Bohm

    Published: 21 April, 2016

    I HAD to ring back yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) while Dorothy Bohm, who is a little of hard hearing, adjusted her phone.

    But what a remarkable woman!

    Dorothy, who lives in Church Row, Hampstead, doesn’t let her great age of 93, slow her down as a famous photographer whose works – often portraits – have been exhibited in several galleries and published everywhere.

    An exhibition a few years ago in Manchester, where she took a diploma at the then technology college in the early 1940s – and also where she met her husband – drew 63,000 visitors. Not surprising, I suppose.

    St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, by Dorothy Bohm
    St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, by Dorothy Bohm

    While she was telling me about the exhibition she suddenly said with a little laugh: “I still cannot leave the camera alone – I hope to do a portrait on Sunday!”

    Known over the years as a “street photographer” – she founded the Photographers’ Gallery – Dorothy came from a well-off Jewish family in Russia, her father a textile manufacturer. He bought his yarn from Manchester so naturally he sent her there as the Nazis swept across eastern Europe.

    Her parents got caught up in the war and were sent to labour camps in Siberia.

    It was only in the early 1960s that Dorothy managed to get them out.  To her help came Harold Wilson, then leader of the opposition, who persuaded the Soviet leader Khrushchev, to release them.

    Next Wednesday a new exhibition of her ravishing works – portraits and street scenes – will open at the Jewish Museum in Camden Town. As she was known as a “humanist photographer in the manner of Henri Cartier-Bresson” it promises to be worth seeing. In a touching comment she says her “photographs fulfil a deep need to stop things from disappearing”.


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