Photographer Dorothy Bohm was born into a Jewish family in Königsberg, East Prussia, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia) on 22 June 1924. In 1939, she was sent to England by her family to escape racial persecution by the Nazis. As her father kissed her goodbye, he handed her his own Leica camera saying 'it may be useful one day'. During the Second World War, Bohm studied photography in Manchester and opened her own portrait studio at the age of 21. In the late 1940s, her interest in outdoor photography was stimulated by frequent visits to the Swiss Lakes when she began to focus on photographing people un-posed and within the natural environment. Afterwards, she spent a year in Paris, before continuing to travel widely. Her early black-and-white photographs are in the tradition of the innovative humanist street photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Manuel Álvarez Bravo and André Kertész, whom she knew and admired.
When she began to work in colour in the 1980s, she added a new sensuousness and tactility to her work. Focusing increasingly on easily overlooked details from the everyday world, she began creating complex, semi-abstract images in which the human presence is nonetheless always implicit. In due course, she adopted a more abstract, spatially ambiguous and painterly approach, as evidenced by her many photographs of torn posters, some of which featured in the exhibition 'Ambiguous Realities: Colour Photographs by Dorothy Bohm', held at Ben Uri in 2007. Bohm was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 2009. Her work is held in public collections in the UK, including the Tate and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Living in Hampstead, Bohm continues to engage with her photography.
Dorothy Bohm has commented on her work: 'The photograph fulfils my deep need to stop things disappearing. It makes transience less painful and retains something 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.'