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Research: Information on the photographer Adolf Morath (born 1905)

I am looking for information on the German born industrial photographer Adolf (sometimes Adolph) Morath who worked extensively for British Petroleum and the Kuwaiti Oil Company in the mid-20th century, photographing oil workers, their daily life and the company facilities in Kuwait and other places. Despite his huge portfolio, there seems to be hardly any information on Morath. I would be very thankful for any information, material or recommendation where to look.

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Comment by Michael Pritchard on June 29, 2020 at 13:21
Comment by David H Davison on March 18, 2019 at 17:38

Sometime around 1950 Adolph Morath was commissioned By the Deparment of Foreign affairs of the Irish Government to photograph important Irish literary people and possibly others of significance.

In the mid 1960s I made prints of his magnificent portrait of George Bernard Shaw , yaken on 35 mm. film and interestingly had the shadow detail around his eyes enhanced with neu-coccin.

Sometime in 1971 I had reason to enquire of the Information section of of the Department about this and several other negatives only to be told that they could not be located. Perhaps it would be worth enquiring with them regarding the Morath commission, perhaps the negatives with have resurfaced by now. The system in the section is such that it is staffed by junior diplomats who are posted elsewhere after a short time, leading to a lack of continuity or the passing on of information.

Hope this is of help.

Comment by Laura Hindelang on September 8, 2017 at 8:24

Thank you so much for sharing your memories, knowledge and insights with me! Thanks Michael Pritchard for the link, that looks promising! I assume there is no archive responsible for his oeuvre?

Comment by John Harrison on September 5, 2017 at 19:34

I may be wrong about this but I believe two more or Morath's books were "Children before my Camera," and "Pets before my Camera."

Comment by John Harrison on September 5, 2017 at 19:31

Adolf Morath ran a portrait studio in Liverpool before WW2. He photographed my parents there. He also included their portraits in his book "Faces Before My Camera." I have the original prints, his work was wonderful. In the case of my Dad (Dr. Frederick Harrison), the picture was made when he asked him to "Look into her eyes."  Perfect. And if someone was not a gentleman, it certainly was not Morath. Students at Guildford, I gather, found Nurnberg "difficult." May I quote? "You are not here to think, you are here to learn photography." Ifor Thomas must have turned in his grave. Frankly I am glad I went to Guildford before his time.

Comment by Michael Pritchard on September 4, 2017 at 12:52

He was a Fellow of the ROyal Photographic Society and there are a lot of references to him in the RPS Journal (see: - you'll need to pull out those relating to Adolf and not Inge). 

Comment by Frank Smallpage on September 4, 2017 at 11:52

There was a Photographic Studio in Liverpool in the 1950s named Morath and I am sure they used to do Commercial work.     

Comment by John Jochimsen on September 4, 2017 at 9:39

I met Adolf Morath at Harwell when I had just joined the UKAEA as chief photographer of the Information branch.  He had been taken on to photograph parts of the Research Establishment  As we talked I noticed he still was using flash-powder whereas I would have used bulbs. I watched as he shot one exposure and was blinded by the flash as was everyone else who was watching.

When we were talking I asked him if he knew Walter Nurnberg who I had got to know because Walter had talked to me about Morath, saying 'I don't like him, he is no gentleman'. That's all I remember of Morath as, I never met him again. That must have been about 1956, hope it helps.

Comment by Tony Hilton on September 4, 2017 at 9:28

Adolf Morath photographed my father (Dr WF Hilton, responsible for coining the phrase 'Sound Barrier') in the mid 1950s. The occasion was the commissioning of the Supersonic wind tunnel at Sir WG Armstrong Whitworth's aircraft plant  at Whitley in Coventry. He used a 4x5 inch Linhof Kardan camera and Agfacolor CN17 colour negative film lit by PF 60 and PF 100 bulbs in Bowens troughs. In around 1962 he was exhibited at the Royal Photographic Society's premises at 16, Princes Gate in Kensington alongside Maurice Broomfield. All the prints in the exhibition were 30"x 40" colour images and a wonderful display of industrial photography 

Comment by Michael Pritchard on August 31, 2017 at 17:25

Hello! There are 14 prints by Adolf Morath in the RPS Collection. These can be requested and viewed in the V&A Print Room 

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