Edith Tudor-Hart (nee Suschitzky) was born in Vienna, Austria on 28 August 1908. Her parents owned a radical bookshop as well as a small publishing house printing progressive material. She joined the Austrian communist youth movement. Aged 16 she left home to take up a course with Maria Montessori in London, intending to be a kindergarten teacher. She later went on to study photography at the Bauhaus in Dessau. Using a Rolleiflex camera, her politically engaged photography was first published in 'Der Kuckuck', 'Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung' and 'Die Bühne', including images depicting London's deprived East End.
She married British doctor Alexander Tudor-Hart in 1933 and fled to Britain. There she worked for 'The Listener', 'The Social Scene' and 'Design Today' exposing the shocking living conditions, unemployment, disease and hunger endured by the working classes of Vienna, London and the Rhondda Valley in Wales. In the late 1930s, she began to focus increasingly on issues of social welfare, housing and care of disabled children. Her son, Tommy, was autistic and was placed in a mental institution from the age of 11, never to be fully released. Her photographs were published in the 'Picture Post' and 'Lilliput', and were also used as illustrations for 'Working Class Wives' (Margery Spring-Rice, 1939) and 'Moving and Growing' (Ministry of Education, 1953). Tudor-Hart also worked as a Soviet agent, helping to recruit Kim Philby, a member of the Cambridge spy ring. Following Philby’s first arrest in 1952, Edith burned many of her negatives in order to protect herself after enduring repeated interrogations by MI5 agents. Despite being unable to provide evidence of her espionage Tudor-Hart was eventually forced to abandon photography, resettling in Brighton where she opened an antique shop. Edith Tudor-Hart died in Brighton, England on 12 May 1973. Photographs by Tudor-Hart are held in UK public collections including the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, the National Portrait Gallery and Tate in London, and the University of Brighton. A display of photographs by Edith Tudor-Hart and Wolfgang Suschitzky, curated by Kate Bush, Adjunct Photography Curator, opened at Tate Britain in May 2019.