Dorothy Bohm: Women in Focus
How many of us have ever wanted to freeze a moment in time? How many have wished “to stop things from disappearing”?
It takes courage to try to stop the laws of nature – courage that London-based, celebrated photographer Dorothy Bohm has in spades.
In a career spanning over 70 years, Dorothy has gained a wealth of experience, published over a dozen books, had countless exhibitions and won national and international acclaim. Yet not enough credit has been given to her for being so generous with young talent and nurturing the careers of many aspiring photographers.
Now the time has come for Dorothy to enjoy another moment of glory. 33 of her colour photographs are central to the Women in Focus exhibition. Images ranging from the early 1990s to the present have been carefully selected to bring the audience face-to-face with women of different sizes, classes and races.
Visually intriguing by using reflective surfaces and strong colours, this collection may seem like a set of pretty, pop-up pictures, but in fact, as art historian Ian Jeffrey observes, it is a much more complex metaphor of man, and a contrast between reality and fiction.
A significant part of the exhibition concerns itself with the idea of disguise, camouflage, make-up and coded conduct, which make the concept of femininity resonate strongly in the audience’s mind, something to which Bohm herself has always felt connected.
The juxtaposition of women in artwork, advertising and shop windows, and women living and working in London adds a fascinating aspect to the exhibition, as did the style of the event. Inspired by urban design, billboards, hoardings and bright colours, Jayne Davis – graphic designer at Museum of London – has created a perfect scenography for Bohm’s exhibition.
When Monica Bohm-Duchen, Bohm’s daughter and art historian, was asked about what makes her mother a great photographer, she said: “deep humanity, unthreatening presence, incredible sense of empathy and willingness to show what binds us together, rather than what tears us apart”. This exhibition beautifully illustrates the unity between seemingly contrasting women.
Dorothy Bohm: Women in Focus is at the Museum of London until 17th February 2013. For further information visit the artist’s website here.