A woman photographing women
With an aim to capture the many roles of women in society, Bohm juxtaposes the images of women that surround us in advertising, artworks and shop windows with real women living and working in the capital – revealing the contrasts, similarities and gaps between ideals and expectations of the feminine and real life women in everyday situations.
Museum of London press release
I actually saw the Dorothy Bohm exhibition before I went to the Ansel Adams show but for some reason the writing did not come easily for this visit. I think it is partly because I was disappointed and there seemed to be something disloyal in saying so. Although, the disappointment was less to do with the work and more to do with the way it has been presented. Dorothy is an important photographer but this show might have led you to think otherwise. The light levels were incredibly variable – in one corner I found it was almost too dark to see the images at all. Sandwiched between two interactive spaces and a cafe I found the leaking noise incredibly distracting.
Why bother going into this much detail about the presentation? Because for me it really highlighted the delicate relationship between photographer, image and viewer. My ability to ‘read’ the work was significantly influenced by the setting in which I found it. In this setting it was hard to see Dorothy’s work for the position it should occupy and in a sense it almost reinforced the sense of invisibleness of the women I felt in some of her images.
As a woman photographing women, I hope that I have shown in my pictures that I understand, sympathize and can identify with my subjects. I never want to take hurtful pictures. I have tried to show the contribution women make to the very diverse, exciting, colourful if sometimes stressful London life
There is a sensitivity in these images and a keen eye for the extraordinary in the ordinary. On this basis the images seem to straddle photo documentary, ethnography, and portraiture. Some of the images made me smile and overall it was good to see a show by a woman of women.
The photograph fulfills my deep need to stop things from disappearing. It makes transience less painful and retains come of the special magic, which I have looked for and found. I have tried to create order out of chaos, to find stability in flux and beauty in the most unlikely places.