Grace Robertson - 2007
A self-taught photographer, Grace Robertson is a pioneering photojournalist known for her heart-warming images of working class women and everyday life.
After a year working with the legendary Simon Guttman's REPORT agency, Grace began her close association with the Picture Post in 1950. Her work documenting Britain's post-war life and its struggle to come to terms with a rapidly-changing future was hugely popular. Her subjects were very varied but she brought humour, sympathy and a woman's perspective to all her work. However, Grace had first submitted her work to the magazine in 1948. Aware that almost all photojournalists at the time were male she had sent her work to the magazine under the male pseudonym Dick Muir. They were returned with the advice “persevere young man". Persevere she did and her pictures are now considered classics of photojournalism.
When the Picture Post closed in 1957, Grace freelanced for national magazines and the Pictorial Press Agency and in 1966 trained as a primary school teacher whilst still pursuing her love of photography. Her work has featured in exhibitions in the UK and USA including the Kathleen Ewing Gallery in Washington DC, the University of California, San Diego, the Leica Gallery, New York and the Zelda Cheatle Gallery, London. In 2007 her work was featured in the Tate Britain exhibition, How We Are.
In recognition of her ground-breaking work Grace received an OBE in 1999 for services to photography. Her photographs are held in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television and the National Gallery of Australia. She is the only British photographer to feature in an exhibition at America's National Photography Gallery celebrating the first women in photojournalism.
In recognition of her outstanding services to photojournalism she is awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Education.
Grace Robertson with (L-R): Brunel Chancellor Lord Wakeham, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Linda Thomas, and Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Jenks.