Archive, Portrait of Britain

Another Eye: Women Refugee Photographers

Portrait of Bill Brandt behind the camera, by Laelia Goehr. © Laelia Goehr estate.

In the 1930s, more than 70,000 people sought refuge in Britain from Nazi-dominated Europe. Among them were a group of women photographers, now brought together in a new exhibition

When Adolf Hitler came into power in 1933, around 70,000 Jewish refugees fled German-occupied Europe and settled in the UK. Among them was a group of women photographers, who brought fresh, modernist perspectives, which opened up British photography in the decades that followed.

A young girl from the Canning Town Women’s Settlement, looking at some of the work produced by local children concerning their views of the war, including this drawing by Michael Butterworth. May 1940. © Gerti Deutsch, Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
Portrait of Marian Anderson © Lotte Meitner-Graf Archive.

This Women’s History Month, Four Corners Gallery, London presents a new exhibition that brings together their work for the first time in Britain. Included in the show are pieces by established photographers Dorothy Bohm, Gerti Deutsch, Elsbeth Juda, Lotte Meitner-Graf, Lucia Moholy, Gerty Simon and Edith Tudor-Hart. The gallery will also present work by lesser-known practitioners, including Erika Koch and Lore Lisbeth Waller [below].

Anthea and Gillian Kennedy. © Erika Koch archive.
Portrait of Lore Lisbeth Waller. Leamington Spa, 1945. Courtesy of Anne Zahalka.

Faced with the traumas of exile, these photographers overcame personal struggles to build new lives in Britain. Many re-established their studios, producing portraits of prominent cultural figures, and some became photojournalists, publishing their work for magazines like Picture Post and Lilliput. Another Eye explores how the unique experiences of these women photographers played a significant role in representing post-war Britain and is accompanied by a series of talks, as well as events that explore work by women photographers from migrant and displaced backgrounds. 

Photograph by Hella Katz © Wien Museum.

Another Eye: Women Refugee Photographers in Britain after 1933 will be on show at Four Corners Gallery in London from 28 February until 01 May 2020.

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